Klaus Doldinger

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Klaus Doldinger, 2009
Jazz Festival Dernau
Klaus Doldinger, 2020

Klaus Doldinger (born May 12, 1936 in Berlin ) is a German musician ( saxophone , initially also clarinet ). He is best known as a jazz musician and as a composer of film music . His best-known works are the theme music for the film Das Boot , the series Tatort , Liebling Kreuzberg as well as A Case for Two and the film music for The Neverending Story . Also the iconic film fanfare from Constantin AG, which can be heard in a large number of German feature films, comes from his pen (after the previous one, composed by Peter Thomas). He was a member of the artistic advisory board of the Union of German Jazz Musicians and a member of the supervisory board of GEMA .


The early years

Klaus Doldinger grew up as the son of the graduate engineer Erich Doldinger and his wife Ingeborg, née Mann, initially in Berlin. His grandfather Bruno Mann was Lord Mayor of Erfurt from 1919 to 1933. During the war, his father worked as a senior postal director in the occupied parts of the Soviet Union, and the family lived in Vienna from 1940 to 1945 . Then she fled first to Bavaria and then to Düsseldorf.

Klaus Doldinger, 2004
Düsseldorf Jazz Rally

From 1947 to high school graduation in 1957, Doldinger attended Jacobi-Gymnasium and also from 1947 on a scholarship to the Robert Schumann Conservatory in Düsseldorf , where he first studied piano and from 1952 clarinet. During this time he gained his first experience in the music industry with the band The Feetwarmers , founded by friends in 1952 , a Dixie formation with which he first appeared in 1953 and made his first record in 1955 . At times the cabaret artist Dieter Süverkrüp (banjo) and the later Minister Manfred Lahnstein (trombone) also played with the Feetwarmers . In 1955 Doldinger also founded his own band Oscar's Trio , whose name he chose based on his great role model Oscar Peterson . With this group he won first prize at the Brussels Jazz Festival, the Coup Sidney Bechet .

Doldinger Quartet

After graduating from high school, he studied musicology and sound engineering and became a sound engineer . After a success with his version of Must i because, must i then go to the Städtele for a US beverage company, he went on his first foreign tour to the USA in 1960 , where he played, among other things. with George Lewis and at the Birdland jazz club, and at the age of 24 received honorary citizenship of New Orleans during his first US tour . In 1961 he played modern jazz with US expatriates such as Don Ellis , Johnny Griffin , Idrees Sulieman , Kenny Clarke , Donald Byrd and Benny Bailey . In 1962 he founded the Klaus Doldinger Quartet , with which he released his first record, Doldinger - Jazz Made in Germany , for the Philips label the following year . The LP was also a great international success, as no white “cool jazz” was played here, but components of bebop were used.

Members of this quartet were Doldinger (tenor saxophone), Ingfried Hoffmann ( Hammond organ ), Helmut Kandlberger (bass) and Klaus Weiss (drums). Another LP with this line-up was Doldinger recorded live at Blue Note Berlin in 1963 and released in 1964. In 1964 they undertook their first major international tour on behalf of the Goethe Institute, among others. to Morocco, a stay that aroused his interest in African music. This was followed by international appearances at the Antibes Festival and the Blue Note in Paris .

In 1965 Klaus Weiss and Helmut Kandlberger got out. They were replaced by Dutch drummer Cees See and bassist Peter Trunk . Strengthened by the guitarist Attila Zoller , the quartet recorded the LP Doldinger in South America . Doldinger can also be heard on the soprano saxophone on several of the tracks, and Hoffmann only plays Hammond organ on two of the ten tracks. In 1966 Doldinger took part in the recordings for the music for the Will Tremper film Playgirl . Under the direction of Peter Thomas , Ingfried Hoffmann (Hammond organ), Peter Trunk (bass) and Rafi Lüderitz (drums) can also be heard on the soundtrack released on a Philips LP . In 1967 Doldinger recorded the LP Doldinger Goes On . The quartet of Doldinger, Hoffmann, Trunk and See was expanded to a septet with three other musicians: Helmut Kandlberger also played the electric bass, Volker Kriegel plucked the guitar, and the Belgian Fats Sadi played the percussion.

Klaus Doldinger Quartet, 2009
with Michael Hornek (piano), Patrick Scales (bass) and Christian Lettner (drums)

In 1968 the LP Blues Happening was created ; the first page is dedicated to the postbop . In addition to Doldinger, who played tenor and soprano saxophones, Hoffmann (piano), Kandlberger (bass) and See (drums) also played. The second page is designed as a suite in 5 movements that borrows from moderate free jazz as well as rock music. As a guest musician (in the first movement) an unspecified brass section took part, as well as Kurt Bong (drums), (in the fifth movement) Joe Quick (guitar), Lothar Meid (electric bass) and Wolfgang Paap (drums); Hoffmann played the Hammond B3.

Half of the double LP Doldinger - The Ambassador from 1969 consists of studio recordings, the other half of a live recording at domicile in Munich . The music is shaped by Spanish and Moorish influences. The piece Sahara , an "amalgam" of African music and moderate free jazz from the live record, which was already heard in the piece Blues Happening , left the biggest impression on many Doldinger fans at the time. Doldinger later with Passport on the CDs Talkback (1988), Passport Live (2000) and Passport To Morocco (2006) gecovert .

Motherhood and Passport

In the same year, Doldinger turned to rock jazz and fusion music. His first band with this music was called Motherhood . In 1969 and 1970 this band recorded two LPs: I Feel so Free and Doldinger's Motherhood , both for the Liberty label.

In 1971 he founded the band Passport with Udo Lindenberg on drums, with whom he released the first of 28 albums on Atlantic Records (as the first German band on this label) the following year. With the album Cross-Collateral from 1975, Passport also had great success in the USA, where the group was considered the German answer to Weather Report .

In the following decades Doldinger was on the one hand very productive as a composer, but continued to pursue his career with Passport intensively. In 2000, Klaus Doldinger appeared again with his formation at several festivals (including in the context of the Kulturarena ). In 2001 he surprised the jazz scene with the RMX project . In the following years Doldinger played live all over the world (Brazil, USA, Asia etc.) with changing band memberships or wrote film and advertising music. In 2005 Klaus Doldinger and Passport completed a tour through Morocco, taking local musicians such as the Gnawa musician Majid Bekkas with them on stage and the resulting fusion of Moroccan Gnawa music and Doldinger's jazz variations could be seen on the CD “Passport to Morocco " Listen.

In May 2006 Doldinger celebrated his 70th birthday; On this occasion, a free mini-CD Happy Birthday Klaus was released, which he distributed to fans and autograph hunters during his performances. On the occasion of his 70th birthday, the CD The Best of Doldinger shows a retrospective from 1963 to 1978. In spring 2006, Doldinger celebrated Passport's 35th stage anniversary and presented Wolfgang Schmid on the electric bass, a virtuoso of the early Passport days at the Stage. The musicians of the current Passport line-up are Martin Scales (guitar), Michael Hornek (keyboards), Patrick Scales (electric bass), Ernst Ströer (percussion), Biboul Darouiche (percussion), Christian Lettner (drums).

Film music

Since 1964, Klaus Doldinger has repeatedly received composition commissions from industry, media and advertising, theater, film and television. In 1967 his first music for television appeared - the trailer for the introduction of color television. With Negresco he delivered his first soundtrack in 1968 . In 1970 he wrote the theme song for the crime series Tatort and set a number of Tatort episodes to music in the following years . His score for Das Boot (1981) made him known worldwide. His theme song for Ein Fall für Zwei was from the same year . He then composed the music for the fantasy film The Neverending Story and the lawyer series Liebling Kreuzberg . He has published more than 50 records, wrote around 2,000 pieces and has appeared on stages in around 50 countries over 4,200 times.


Inge and Klaus Doldinger, November 2005

Klaus Doldinger married Inge Beck in 1960 and has three children with her: Viola, Melanie and Nicolas Doldinger. He has lived in Icking near Munich since 1968 . Doldinger has had his own studio (Soundport Studios) near Munich since 1978 .

Doldinger is musically very diverse, in the 1960s he also published dance and rock music under the pseudonym Paul Nero . In the early 1970s, Doldinger composed the advertising music for Pril .

For several years now, Klaus Doldinger has been the patron of the Düsseldorf Jazz Rally , where he repeatedly appears with Passport .

In the ARD crime scene Wacht am Rhein , Klaus Doldinger has a cameo . There he appears as a street musician playing the saxophone for around 16 seconds.

In 1990, Klaus Doldinger made various cameos in episode 12 and 13 of the Adventure Airport series . In episode 13, he is presented as a saxophonist in a bar scene. He is named as an actor in the credits. The series takes place at Düsseldorf Airport. Doldinger had close connections in the Düsseldorf jazz scene.

In 2003 he was one of the founding members of the German Film Academy .

Works (selection)

Chart placements
Explanation of the data
the never ending Story
  DE 22nd 05/07/1984 (10 weeks)
  CH 21 08/13/1984 (4 weeks)
The boat
  DE 62 11/23/1981 (9 weeks)

Discography: Klaus Doldinger

  • Doldinger - Jazz Made in Germany (1963)
  • Doldinger live at Blue Note Berlin (1963)
  • Doldinger in South America (1965)
  • Doldinger Goes On (1967)
  • Blues Happening (1968)
  • Doldinger - The Ambassador (1969)
  • Doldinger Jubilee (selection of titles 1953–1973) (1973)
  • Das Boot (Soundtrack to the feature film Das Boot ) (1981, DE:goldgold)
  • Klaus Doldinger - Constellation (1983)
  • Film from: Doldinger (1993)
  • Doldinger in New York: Street of Dreams (1994, DE:Gold (German Jazz Award)Gold (German Jazz Award))
  • Doldinger Back in New York (1999)
  • Works & Passion 1955-2000 (2001)
  • Early Doldinger - The Complete Philips Sessions (2006)
  • Shakin 'the Blues - Klaus Doldinger (1963-1967) (compilation 2008)
  • Doldinger (2016, DE:Platinum (German Jazz Award)Platinum (German Jazz Award))

Discography: Doldinger's Motherhood

  • I Feel So Free (1969)
  • Doldinger's Motherhood (1970)

Discography: Passport

  • (see article about the band )


  • 1987: The seducer Goebels


Star by Klaus Doldinger on the Boulevard der Stars in Berlin

Klaus Doldinger has received several record awards and honors in the course of his career:


Film portrait

  • alpha forum. Klaus Doldinger in conversation with Ursula Heller . Talk, Germany, 2002, 45 min., Production: BR-alpha , series: alpha-Forum, Jazz made in Germany, first broadcast: April 15, 2002 on BR-alpha, text from BR .

Web links

Commons : Klaus Doldinger  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files



  1. On one of the pieces, the duo Two Getting Together , bassist Peter Trunk took part.

Individual evidence

  1. klaus-doldinger.de , accessed on July 23, 2013, information under "Musicians - Klaus Doldinger"
  2. Sticky Legends: The Pril Flowers are back. Retrieved January 17, 2020 . , at henkel.de
  3. ADVENTURE AIRPORT. Retrieved December 5, 2020 .
  4. Hit record, German chart singles on CD-Rom, Taurus Press
  5. Klaus Doldinger in the Swiss charts
  6. Gold / platinum database of the Federal Music Industry Association, accessed on January 29, 2020
  7. The seducer. Notes on Goebbels | filmportal.de. Retrieved January 13, 2021 .
  8. Klaus Doldinger: Jazz Musician of the Year in Hamburger Abendblatt No. 23, page 13 of January 28, 1964
  9. Klaus Doldinger receives Echo Jazz for his life's work orf.at, May 23, 2017, accessed May 23, 2017.
  10. German Music Author Award for Klaus Doldinger , Deutschlandfunk Kultur, March 15, 2018, accessed June 19, 2018