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Passport - Cross-Collateral CD (album) cover

CROSS-COLLATERAL

Passport

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.61 | 62 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Along with "Infinity Machine", this is probably the best of the German Jazz-Rock (actually more Rock-Jazz) combo's run of classic albums in the 1970s, all of them distinguished by the colorful surrealism of their cover art. PASSPORT was never in the same league as the MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA or WEATHER REPORT (the latter in particular an obvious influence), but the group nevertheless managed to carve their own distinctive niche in an overcrowded market: no small accomplishment at the time.

I love the way that jittery opening sequencer pattern (in what sounds like a hellishly complex time signature) suddenly gels into the easy Space-Jazz swing of "Homunculus", with Klaus Doldinger's saxophone dancing gracefully around a sparkling electric piano solo. And the 13+ minute title track covers a lot of territory, working almost like a Beginner's Guide medley to the music of PASSPORT.

In quick succession it moves from a kinetic start/stop introduction (featuring some primitive electronic percussion triggers) to a brief but lively drum solo by the incomparable Curt Cress, and from there into a relentless mid-tempo rocking section. A blast of rare high-amp electric guitar signals another change of pace, matching equal parts power and finesse before another saxophone freak-out reprise of the opening jam ends the track as it began: stopping on a dime.

Flipping the album over to Side Two (not recommended with a compact disc) doesn't offer any immediate relief, throwing the unwary listener headlong into the full-throttle punch of "Jadoo": three minutes of pure adrenalin guaranteed to raise your blood pressure a few notches. Kristian Schultze's distorted electric piano solo is totally haywire, and the whole thing is propelled by the monster beat of Cress, again proving (and not for the first time) that he was one of the most dynamic and creative drummers of the decade...at least until he later briefly joined TRIUMVIRAT in their declining years.

The rest of the album is almost a let-down after "Jadoo": three tracks of pleasant instrumental music, played with Doldinger's trademark melodic funk and flair, but still sounding tame after all the preceding fireworks. In retrospect, maybe the running order could have been rearranged to better effect.

PASSPORT was a band that was never about to change the world, but they did make it a more pleasant place to live for a while. This album would be an ideal introduction for newcomers, as easy as anywhere else in their long discography, but why not start at the top?

Neu!mann | 4/5 |

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