What I dislike about many jazz-rock albums is the excesses of performing pyrotechnics. Is this extreme focus on virtuosism that makes many of them so boring.
Many fusion artists fall deep into the self indulgent habit of trying to show how fast and clean and perfect they can play their instruments losing in the process, unfortunately, the essentials emotions which are lost in complex scales, super-fast guitar riffs, baroque and ultra dense drums over-working. There was a point in which many fusion or jazz-rock acts became a competition to display playing abilities, and that competition has always left me empty, with an annoying feeling of having been deceived somehow. It is bad because the final thought is: “If they play so well, clean and fast why do they play this crap without a feeling?” .
They are the athletes of music.
I believe that the reason lies in the fact that Fusion is a genre for musicians. The problem arises when the musicians forget themselves and the public and start to perform for the sakes of each other egos. What you get at the end is sonic boredom.
Of Course I am not saying that a majority of fusion bands have this problem. The bad thing is that many of the so called “fusion Supestars” do have it. That’s why I take fusion very carefully and I still think that bands like Brand X, Mahavishnu Orchestra or Weather Report do not have any match today among the fusion artists. They said everything that had to be said about jazz-rock. Period. I am not even in the mood to discuss it.
We present today a marvellous example of the opposite to that negative side of Fusion. Among the great jazz-rock bands of the 70’s we find Passport. The brainchild of Mr Klaus Doldinger, extraordinary Sax player, Passport marked somehow the brith of Kraut-Jazz.
Influenced by the electronic scene of Berlin, Doldinger combined his uncanny skills asd a player with the elements of the uprising rock scene, bringimng together one of the best bands Europa have ever seen for this album. Please pay special attention to the superb and unfoirgettable job that Mr Curt Cress did with his drum set for this album. I haven’t heard many drummers like him, and certainly I haven’t heard more than 5 albums where I enjoy the drums so much.
Also remarkable is the job done by Wolfgang Schmid on bass (following Cress’ buoyant drumming must have been hard) and Kristian Shultze exact and never overwhelming keyboarding.
Doldinger of course deserves more than a few words. He is like a mix between Jan garbarek and Wayne Shorter, but at the same time he follows a path of his own which is more playful than Garbarek phlegmatic style but less intrusive and obsessive than Shorter. (Nonetheless they are both magnificent players).
Doldinger delivers in this album a flow of gentle sounds that evoke flight, ocean waves and open spaces full possibilities for the interweaving of the instruments.
It is jazz with heart and soul. But as anything that was produced in Germany in the 70’s it is also jazz with a brain. The use of Moog and other electronic devices add the psychedelic and mercurial Kraut touch to this great album.
I totally recommend it.
Passport - Jadoo ...