Is there a life before, and therefore after too, such a group as »Passport«? Is German tenor saxophone fame Doldinger the Dave Sanborn, Jan Garbarek or Wayne Shorter or else from the country? Who does still know who are were and will always remain Sigfired E. Loch and Joachim-Ernst Behrendt ?
Questions are probably wrong but this fantastic 4 CD box sets of his early recordings is the best ever possible answer, lesson and knowledge to discover his other sides (guessing you all heard Passport at some point, like you did with Kelly Familly or Boney M and whether you intended too or not). The early 60’s into the late 60’s are for all Jazz orientated fans some sort of crucial blessed times (for all other revolutionaries and illuminates too, indeed). That’s where Europe started to really emancipate from the US jazz and where all kinds of new music and new approaches came around (Garbarek, Mangelsdorff, Brotzmann, Bennink, Humair, Favre, Mengelberg, NHOP, Portal, Pepl, Pirchner, Louiss, Ponty, Berger, Surman, Bailey, Stevens, Holland, Rutherford, Oxley, etc together with American Innovative musicians moving to Europe like Steve Lacy, Don Cherry, Phil Woods, Alan Silva, Anthony Braxton or Archie Shepp). In Doldinger’s case we’re still facing the older tradition of Jazz, from Blues to Be Bop, Swing to Soul. And just let me name a few of the sidemen present on these recordings to introduce you slowly to an European different history of Jazz (as we know Belgium was from the very first country to react to Be Bop, with Rene Thomas, Jacques Pelzer and Bobby Jaspar). Here we find the pretty famous for his times Ingfired Hoffmann on Organ, Peter Trunk on Bass, Atilla Zoller, Volker Kriegel and even Swiss Pierre Cavalli on Guitars, George Gruntz is also featured as well as the frequent team of Benoit Quersin (bass) and Kenny Clarke (drums) or the less known Fats Sadi (percussions).
The 1964 issue of »Jazz Workshop« shows an orchestra conducted by Hans Koller with Idrees Sulieman or Jon Eardley on trumpet, Mangelsdorff or Eje Thelin on trombones, Rolf Khün, Sahib Shihab and already Johnny Griffin on saxophones. Just examples. So what’s the music like? The Music is really pretty good, still quite conventional in the forms and themes (Blues, Rhythm Changes, Latin Beats and single chord Grooves) but one need to remember that these were times when Jazz was still popular on Concerts, Radio and TV. Of course there is a touch of Cross Over in Doldinger’s orchestras but despite what I’ve said earlier you should probably better think of him as next to the like of Charles Loyd or Herbie Mann. His playing is totally controlled, pretty much always at ease and melting all sorts of influences from the outside without using any archetypes or parody. Maybe more than just being an unforgettable soloist and stylist himself, Doldinger has a real talent to set up bands and cast the right musicians around him, choose a repertoire and band sound that is what suits him and us most.
Anyway this 4 CDs box set of impossible to find reissues is a beautiful idea, object and like a great book of European jazz history. The Booklet is of course full of photos and documentations. If any question still after hearing it, I d had raise the one of USA influences in European Music scenes since the 30’s and until today. How Much has actually the situation really changed and how much is Europe a place that produces any music totally detached from US productions and trends? Take Care.