4 out of 5 Stars!
Since its formation in Germany back in 1970, Passport has been one of the best (mostly) instrumental Jazz-Fusion/Prog-Rock bands (and one of the longest-lasting bands in the genre) to have emerged. The material is ultra-professional (well-performed and well-produced), and the albums (especially those from the 1970s, like Cross-Collateral) are typically highly rated by many fans of the group and are some of my favorites in the genre.
Even way back in 1975 on Cross-Collateral, it’s abundantly clear that Klaus Doldinger (on sax, flute, and keyboards, including Moog and Mellotron) is masterful at his craft. The man’s woodwind solos always soar wildly with jazzy melodies, while his keyboards add the perfect spacey and ethereal atmospheres to tracks such as “Homunculus,” “Albatros Song,” and the blazing and lengthy title track.
Plus, the other musicians throughout history who’ve appeared on Passport albums also deserve high praise, especially those who perform on this release. Kristian Schultze’s Fender Rhodes piano contributions, sometimes wonderfully mellow as shown on “Damals” and the aforementioned “Albatros Song,” always add sparkle and structure, while Wolfgang Schmid’s nimble and melodic bass lines and Curt Cress’s always tight, slamming, and often-funky percussion energize tunes such as “Jadoo,” “Will-O’The-Wisp,” and “Cross-Collateral,” making for a seamless merging of Prog-Rock and Jazz Fusion.
As I mentioned, the band stands at the head of this particular sub-genre of Prog-Rock, falling along the same “high-quality” lines set by groups such as Brand X, Weather Report, Return To Forever, and Frank Zappa (his jazzier releases). Passport is top-class all the way!