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Jazz Rock/Fusion • Germany

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Passport biography
PASSPORT was a German jazz/fusion group formed in 1971. Founded by Ace Saxeman, composer and arranger Klaus Doldinger along with Curt Cress (percussion), Kristian Schultze (keyboards), and Wolfgang Schmid (bass & guitar). This was the classic lineup that started with their 4th album "Looking Thru" in 1973, their first US release. I'm not familiar with their first 3 albums, but outside Klaus, the lineup was pretty different. This classic lineup continued through the next 5 albums. Utilizing spacey electronic jazz with rock and classical styles, this group was very groundbreaking. Klaus has a knack for coming up with some of the most beautiful saxe melodies you ever heard. Curt Cress was probably one of the first drummers to experiment with electronic drums. Bassist Wolfgang Schmid's classical guitar adds a nice demension. And Kristian Schultze's use of synth and mellotron gives them an expansive orchestral sound. After their 8th album, PASSPORT went through many different incarnations with only Klaus as the common denominator in all of them. In the 80's, Klaus did other projects like motion picture soundtracks, most notably "Das Boot". But PASSPORT still to this day records and performs (mostly in Europe, they came to the US only once) with various personnel. But it was the classic lineup that expanded their audience and gave them critical acclaim.

: : : Mark Harding, USA : : :

Passport official website

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Imports 1986
Audio CD$8.88
$7.90 (used)
Original Album SeriesOriginal Album Series
Imports 2011
Audio CD$14.90
$22.21 (used)
Passport, Looking ThruPassport, Looking Thru
Wea International 1994
Audio CD$8.90
$7.29 (used)
Imports 1998
Audio CD$14.60
$5.66 (used)
Warner Spec. Mkt. UK 1998
Audio CD$9.62
$6.30 (used)
Sky BlueSky Blue
Atlantic 2002
Audio CD$29.99
$15.67 (used)
Wea International 1998
Audio CD$8.31
$8.30 (used)
Wounded Bird Records 2001
Audio CD$6.00
$5.49 (used)
Man in the MirrorMan in the Mirror
Wounded Bird Records 2001
Audio CD$37.69
$21.73 (used)
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PASSPORT discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

PASSPORT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.94 | 56 ratings
Passport - Doldinger
3.40 | 46 ratings
Second Passport
3.28 | 45 ratings
Hand Made
3.34 | 57 ratings
Looking Thru
3.65 | 80 ratings
3.49 | 36 ratings
Infinity Machine
2.75 | 32 ratings
3.13 | 29 ratings
Ataraxia (Sky Blue)
2.83 | 22 ratings
Garden Of Eden
2.34 | 18 ratings
3.68 | 12 ratings
Blue Tattoo
3.88 | 12 ratings
2.28 | 13 ratings
Man In The Mirror
3.00 | 7 ratings
Running In Real Time
2.33 | 6 ratings
Heavy Nights
2.60 | 5 ratings
Talk Back
2.50 | 2 ratings
Balance Of Happiness
2.50 | 2 ratings
Blues Roots
3.00 | 2 ratings
Down To Earth
3.33 | 3 ratings
Passport To Paradise
3.00 | 2 ratings
0.00 | 0 ratings
Passport Rmx Vol.1
2.00 | 1 ratings
Back To Brasil
3.60 | 5 ratings
To Morocco
2.00 | 1 ratings
Inner Blue

PASSPORT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.84 | 9 ratings
Doldinger Jubilee Concert
3.11 | 9 ratings
Doldinger Jubilee '75
3.82 | 2 ratings
2.95 | 3 ratings
Passport - Live
2.00 | 1 ratings
On Stage

PASSPORT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

PASSPORT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.33 | 3 ratings
3.50 | 2 ratings
2 Originals
3.00 | 1 ratings
Spirit Of Continuity: The Passport Anthology
3.50 | 2 ratings
Passport Control

PASSPORT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Schirokko / Continuation


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Looking Thru by PASSPORT album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.34 | 57 ratings

Looking Thru
Passport Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The relentless journey of the band named Passport continues at the fall of 1973.Doldinger would carry the band to Dieter Dierks's Studio in October to record ''Looking thru'', this time Frank Roberts was replaced by keyboardist Kristian Schultze, who was already an experienced performer, having played with his own band Kristian Schultze Set and the Ethno-Jazz combo Niagara, while he was a close friend of Curt Cress, playing later alongside the German veteran drummer in Curt Cress Clan and Snowball.

''Looking thru'' shows Passport returning to the sound of their inventive pair of first releases, without throwing away the new direction they had taken with ''Hand made''.In fact this one sounds the most Kraut Fusion album of the combo, regarding the displayed stylings, featuring spacious keyboards, light jazzy improvisations, funky rhythms, Fusion exercises and a nice dose of Kraut Rock freakness.Some superb jazzy grooves with nice work on clavinet and sax to go along with tremendous Fusion keyboard and piano fests, love the combination of jazzy electric piano with the sinister Mellotron strings in the background.The opening side relies much on the work of Doldinger and Schultze on keyboards and the tireless rhythm section with occasional sax bursts, it's one of the very fine examples of flexible German Fusion with charming keyboard soloing and balanced tempos.Second side sees Doldinger pickin' up his sax for some accomplished executions on funky lines, melodious themes and scratching jazzy workouts, always backed up by the omnipresent keyboards.It sounds a bit more ethereal and lightweight than the opening one, but still contains some pretty cool stuff with experimental synth lines and virtuosic piano solos.My main complaint comes from the album's length, this one is pretty short, barely exceeding the 30-min. mark.

Well-played German Fusion with a variety of rhythms and atmospheres.Better than ''Hand made'' and a major purchase for all fans of airy Kraut/Jazz Rock.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Lifelike by PASSPORT album cover Live, 1980
3.82 | 2 ratings

Passport Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by presdoug

4 stars Passport, fronted by multi-instrumentalist Klaus Doldinger, is truly an amazing outfit. Especially in the 1970s and early 1980s, the band recorded album after album of top notch jazz/jazz-rock music. Apart from the justifiably tried and true studio and 2 live records on Atlantic in the 70s, there were some rather off the beaten track live outings that deserve a lot more attention than they have garnered. This double CD set called "Lifelike", is one of them.

Recorded after the famous and renowned group lineup of Doldinger on Sax and Keys, Curt Cress on drums, Kristian Schultze (RIP) on keys, and Wolfgang Schmid on Guitar had disbanded, this recording features live performances from the 1977 Montreux Jazz Festival (introduced by Claude Nobs) and the 1980 Montreux Festival, as well. Though Doldinger would never fully recapture the greatness of the earlier lineup (whose last recording was the studio album Iguacu in 1977), the music on this CD set shows that he still knew how to surround himself with great musicians, and make great music. Judging by the evidence on these recordings, Passport still had the chops live, and had not run out of steam, as some thought they had.

CD 1 has the lineup of Doldinger along with Kevin Mulligan on guitar, Hendrik Schaper on keys, Dieter Petereit on bass, and Dave Crigger on drums, who were also involved in some of Passport's post-Iguacu studio offerings. In Montreux in 1977, this band is still a force to be reckoned with, doing numbers from the recently released Iguacu album, as well older tracks from the debut, Second Passport, and Infinity Machine. The last two tracks are recorded without bass and drums, with a somewhat different from Passport atmosphere to them. Though the music here is a little lighter than the early band, none of it is trite, and stands on it's own as intriguing music.

CD 2 starts off with a cover of 1975's Jadoo, then a number from Iguacu, and a version of Stormy Monday Blues, all done in 1977 as well, with guest musicians. Then comes Montreux 1980, and the title track from Ataraxia, and then Dreamware and Algeria, these tracks featuring the 1977 Montreux lineup. Algeria features a very creative drum solo from David Crigger.

If you are a fan of seventies Passport, I urge you to give Lifelike a try. It is definitely worthwhile, and is an important window on what the band was like live in the first few years after the Iguacu lineup departed. I give it four stars.

 Ataraxia (Sky Blue)  by PASSPORT album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.13 | 29 ratings

Ataraxia (Sky Blue)
Passport Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars Underrated late '70s Passport album, this album found the group with a complete overhaul of their lineup. Gone are Curt Cross, Kristian Schultze and Wolfgang Schmid, with a whole new lineup. Passport has always been Klaus Doldinger's vehicle to begin with, as the first album, Doldinger from 1971 featured a lineup that's completely different from the lineup that gave up Looking Thru up to Iguacu (except for Doldinger, naturally), so this isn't the first time Passport had a complete overhaul of their lineup. Gone is much of the Brazilian style of Iguacu, except for that last cut, "Alegria", instead you get some of that mid '70s Passport style, with a spacy electronic backdrop, and two cuts, "Sky Blue" and "Loco-Motive" bearing more than a passing resemblance to instrumental Alan Parsons Project. I happened to like the direction Passport was heading here. I am particularly fond of the electronic direction they were heading here. "Mandrake", on the other hand is more typical Passport, with that unmistakable sax playing from Klaus Doldinger. This song gets me thinking of a TV game show theme song. I have always been under the impression Doldinger was of two minds, he wanted mainstream acceptance, at the same time he had creative ambitions. Had he not had those ambitions, he could have scarily ended up as the Kenny G of the 1970s. There's at times Passport did border on smooth jazz, and that is most noticeable on "Louisiana". Then there's "Reng Ding Dang Dong". This one just utterly blew me away. Probably the most original piece of music I have ever heard from Passport (a band never known for originality). This is an electronic piece, done really funky of synthesizers. I really love this piece, I can't believe this is really Passport. While Passport in general might not be of interest to lovers of progressive electronic, "Reng Ding Dang Dong" sure does, as it's firmly in that camp! This album is not perfect, "Alegria" is Brazilian-influenced jazz I can do without (seems everyone agrees), and is probably the reason I've been hesitant to get Iguacu. Call me crazy, I found Ataraxia (Sky Blue) more enjoyable than Infinity Machine. Of course Cross Collateral is by far the best Passport album, as far as I'm concerned, but I was really surprised with this album, given if you go by this website, Infinity Machine is their last worthwhile album. For me, it's Ataraxia. Not everything is great here, but I enjoyed it much more than I imagined.
 Hand Made by PASSPORT album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.28 | 45 ratings

Hand Made
Passport Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars In a creative orgasm Passport's third actual album became reality in 1973.This time there is no John Mealing or Bryan Spring around, instead Doldinger invited German veteran drummer Curt Cress, while a young keyboardist named Frank Roberts, who had just released a single on Atlantic, would join the rest of the team on electric piano and organ.No surprise, he would later become a member of Isotope.This work would again be released on Atlantic, entitled ''Hand made''.

To my ears ''Hand made'' sounds closer to traditional Jazz-Rock that the first two Passport offerings, that means the band delivers a more loose and even more energetic style, which is a nice thing, but fails a bit in terms of consistency, like during the useless drum/bass monologue on ''The connexion''.Moreover Doldinger would sacrifice some of the previous incredible spaciness in the name of funkier and upbeat tunes.Still there are plenty of good moments to find in the album.Wolfgang Schmid's throbbing bass lines have finally become a trademark of the group, the same occurs for Doldinger's long and melodic sax solos.Doldinger along with Roberts are also responsible for Passport's impressive keyboard-driven depth on this release, which includes COLOSSEUM-like organ moves, soaring synthesizers, nervous electric piano and additionally some clavinet on ''Proclamation'' (no connection with Gentle Giant's self-titled track from ''The power and the glory'', even if there is where the clavinet appears).As with every Passport album, there is a good bunch of synth fanfares and organ runs with Doldinger keeping a great balance between sax-driven soundscapes and other instrumental parts, bassed on groovy moves, jazzy free-stylings and a tight prog content.

''Hand made'' appears to be slightly less experimental and daring compared to Passport's strong early steps.But this does not mean it is not a good album.It still is a good Fusion creation by Doldinger & co. with nice organ/synth work, impressive electric piano and a dominant sax flavor.Recommended.

 Running In Real Time by PASSPORT album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.00 | 7 ratings

Running In Real Time
Passport Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars It's quite impressive knowing Passport as they were very productive in generating albums and this "Running in Real Time" was their 14th studio album since their first inception in 1971. Many have considered this Germany-based band in comparison with its American counterpart Weather Report eventhough the music is not quite the same. This release is quite surprise to me as it features two kind of music: the original root of Passport with its jazz-rock fusion style with many saxophone work and those with vocals where the music tend to be R&B instead of jazz.

The opening track "At Large" demonstrates the original root of Passport in jazz-rock fusion style featuring sax solo combined nicely with guitar work laid over jazzy rhythm section. The next track "Auyrin" is a slow speed jazzy tunes with sax as main melody backed with solid basslines. There is also nice guitar solo right after sax. These two opening tracks resembles the original style of Passport music. "Talisman" is explorative in nature, demonstrating bamboo flute played by the band leader Klaus Doldinger cmbined nicely with vocals as well as excellent percussion by the band's long serving drummer: Curt Cress. Starting with "Help Me" Passport made an effort to do differently, introducing vocal by Victoria Miles. The music has the kind of R&B style. But of course it's not a typical R&B you can hear easily at radio station. It's in fact quite enjoyable.

Overall, I consider this album is a good one especially for those who love jazz-rock fusion but don't get surprises if you find some kind of R&B music as the vocal enters. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

 Garden Of Eden by PASSPORT album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.83 | 22 ratings

Garden Of Eden
Passport Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by VOTOMS

1 stars Have no fun, dude, unless you like to play and have fun pressing the "skip" button. I found Passport - Garden of Eden, used and cheap. I never had tried any Passport album before, so... why not? The album cover is fine and looking at the tracklist, the Garden of Eden was an eight minutes suite, it took my interest. But I am so sorry. It couldn't be worst. It was a cheesy, easy- listening and non-memorable soft/jazz-pop. Nothing catchy, nothing creative. Big Bang doesn't made me happy, and the suite... what a boring track. The rest of the album? Just few new-age pop and poor stuff. Please, try their early stuff.
 Ataraxia (Sky Blue)  by PASSPORT album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.13 | 29 ratings

Ataraxia (Sky Blue)
Passport Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BORA

4 stars The last good album before drastic change in direction.

Passport is Klaus Doldinger's vehicle. An extremely productive composer, performer, the band allows for some stretching out alongside his other works for German TV, where he provided countless soundtracks for noted TV-series, as well as movies. Some of those works are equally good compared with Passport and it's of a surprise to me that Doldinger didn't merit a separate listing on PA.

I was fortunate to catch the band live on their promotion tour of "Ataraxia". The performance was studded with great improvisations on all instruments and this album contains elements of that - albeit in a condensed form.

The first half of the album is a pure delight. The two-part title tune slowly builds from a tastefully mellow start to a gutsy finish, then followed by a number of excellent pieces. It's European Jazz- Rock at it's best.

What follows is a bit of a mixed bag of goodies. Still some nice compositions/melodies professionally arranged and delivered. The emergence of the odd Disco rhythm though - whilst not that horrible - points in the direction Passport were heading towards on their future releases.

The band is like a revolving door where members come and go regularly. This line-up is one of the best and able to deliver fluid and smooth works, unlike some awkwardly fragmented and rigid lines that tend to plague many Teutonic artists.

Altogether, the album remains a worthy addition and recommended. Most other works by Passport pre-Ataraxia are also excellent

 Looking Thru by PASSPORT album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.34 | 57 ratings

Looking Thru
Passport Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The fourth album from Germany's premier Fusion ensemble saw Klaus Doldinger and company finally hitting their stride: the band had settled into a stable line-up, and the music was fast approaching its cosmic jazz-funk zenith. That opening burst of synths and mellotron at the top of "Eternal Spiral" signaled a further shift in style toward the rockier end of the Jazz Rock spectrum, emphasized by a dramatic volley of drumming by the peerless Curt Cress, always a great way to kick-start an album.

What follows is often too straightforward for traditional Fusion. The title track showcases Doldinger's deft touch with a tenor sax throughout eight enjoyable minutes of carefree grooving. And the melodic 4/4 beat driving ersatz pop tunes like "Rockport" and "Tarantula" make both resemble theme songs to some long-forgotten '70s TV sit-com, although each has a toe-tapping catchiness that can't be denied.

The music stretches out more during the album's latter half, but not enough to seriously challenge the listener's enjoyment. "Eloquence" opens with a bit of primitive (hand-triggered) electronic percussion. And Doldinger's freeform playing on the closing "Things to Come" promises exactly that: a brief preview of the band's more adventurous "Cross-Collateral", released the following year.

It's not what anyone would call a groundbreaking effort, and was never intended as such. But "Looking Thru" remains one of the more pleasant collections of instrumental music listed on this site: the perfect headphone escape from the plummeting temperatures of mid-January (as I write this, in the American Northeast). The album has so far earned an almost unanimous good-but-not-essential rating, and I'm not prepared to buck that trend. But my own three stars are at least offered with a little more enthusiasm than some.

 Second Passport by PASSPORT album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.40 | 46 ratings

Second Passport
Passport Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Klaus Doldinger's band would officially be named Passport after the first great album, but the line-up for the second upcoming release would totally change.Doldinger recruited Americans John Mealing and Bryan Spring on keyboards/piano and drums respectively, while the bass and guitars were responsibilities of Wolfgang Schmid.Another product for Atlantic, ''Second passport'' would see the light in 1972.

All titles are composed by Doldinger and this is another almost perfect example of dynamic, rich and powerful Jazz/Fusion with a sound somerwhat split between the British scene and the Kraut aesthetics.From the great GENTLE GIANT-like opening tunes of ''Mandragora'' to the loose jamming of ''Nexus'' and the restless sax breathing of Doldinger, the album makes it clear already from its starting point that this is an excellent work of deep inspiration.''Fairy Tale'' offers back this unique Space/Jazz approach of Passport, already listened on their debut, with the beautiful combination of electric piano, hypnotic rhythms and melodic saxes.The later tracks are also magnificent, having a sound balanced between Brass-like Rock, Canterbury Fusion and Kraut-Jazz.Ultra deep and powerful bass lines, great organ parts, jazzy guitar solos, light electric pianos and of course Doldinger's sax interventions, the tracks scan the path from tightly structured passages to fully improvised solos and interplays in a very succesful way, that sounds no less than highly entertaining and extremely professional.

Another highlight in Doldinger's long discography.''Second Passport'' is one of these albums that can make even someone who dislikes Jazz listen to it several times.Highly recommended, definitely an album of All-Star level regarding the Jazz/Fusion stylings.

 Passport - Doldinger  by PASSPORT album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.94 | 56 ratings

Passport - Doldinger
Passport Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by presdoug

5 stars Deciding on Passport's best album, for me, was not easily done. Their first seven, 1970s studio albums are all five star efforts, but the kudos go to "Passport-Doldinger", the first one, in the final analysis.

Everything about this record is "so right". Individual numbers have varying moods within, and Passport's sound here is definitely "traveling music". The resulting musical journey is a multi-faceted one, and there are no weak tracks, or weak, out of place places in existing numbers.

Doldinger and company know how to get into a groove, but do interesting and refreshing things with that groove, once you are in it. This is an instrumental album, and all instruments playing (sax, keys, drums, guitar, bass, flute) are doing interesting and groundbreaking things that makes "Passport-Doldinger" an important and pivotal musical offering, and exciting and a thrill to listen to.

A run of the mill approach to instrumentation can most easily and quickly spell disaster to a fusion group, especially in early, competitive world of jazz rock here in 1971, but on this album, things are never just ordinary. The music is focused and professional, and that is quite impressive, especially considering that this is a debut record by the band.

I get the feeling that I'm hearing not only the best Passport album, but just about the best fusion record, period, from this era-it is that good. Five stars.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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