Passport: Ataraxia (1978)

With "Sky Blue", Klaus Doldinger tips his hat and his planetary axis to German electronic music, while making it his own as only he can do. The two-part "Ataraxia" alone is worth the cost of the disk, beginning with gently hypnotic synths and building to a crescendo of vivacious sax-led testimonies that never completely drown out the keyboard rhythms. This is music that can appeal to jazz, progressive, funk, world, and even remotely adventurous new age fans.
Keyboards do tend to dominate when the sax is not to the fore, and on the title cut, "Sky Blue", the synthesizer doodling reaches its apex without wearing thin. Roy Louis' guitar and Dieter Petereit's bass provide the backing that makes Passport one of the more listenable groups of their ilk. This is jazz for sure, but in a more loosely structured rather than free form sense. Listen to "Mandrake" for an even better example, with guitar leads not unlike some of Andy Latimer's workouts on "Rain Dances", but with a greater respect for the overall piece. It's not so much dance music, but music that dances. Another highlight is the chugging "Loco-motive", in which Doldinger's flute simulates the whistle of the train when actual audio samples are not being used, and his flutes elsewhere are sprightly and melodically integrated with the sax. Quintessential travelling music, it skips and careens along the rails with its own frothy character.
A refuge of level headed coolness as it was in 1978, "Ataraxia" remains as relevant today as then, and a passport to further enjoyment of this classy act.
01 - Ataraxia (Part One)
02 - Ataraxia (Part Two)
03 - Sky Blue
04 - Mandrake
05 - Reng Ding Dang Dong
06 - Loco-Motive
07 - The Secret
08 - Louisiana
09 - Alegria
Dieter Petereit - Bass
Klaus Doldinger - Composed By, Arranged By, Flute, Saxophone [Sopran], Saxophone [Tenor],Keyboards
Willy Ketzer - Drums
Roy Louis - Guitar
Hendrik Schaper - Keyboards
Elmer Louis - Percussion
Guillermo Marchena - Percussion, Vocals
Ataraxia (Mlps)
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