released October 31, 1989
Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD: 4 Stars
"The recording of the Cecil Taylor European Big Band is the centerpiece of this FMP box set, and deservedly so, since it contains a superlative performance of some of the greatest living improvisors. An introduction to the theatre for those unfamiliar with Taylor’s performance craft, the set begins in darkness with voices moaning, chanting, keening. Music begins with the drum, and Han Bennink here opens the door to the otherworld that is the orchestra of two continents. Dense, clattering activity of percussion mixing with the excitement of the hall. First notes of the horns heart-catching discord. Pause for breath, this is a living not machine music. Staccato, telegraphic, brass introduction that picks up the theme, the phrase fans out through the ensemble like a tribal language passing through many hands. Cecil’s presence more felt than heard, piano undercurrent. Brass pulses stirring in the heart of this medicine, a healing music in Berlin. Much of the music’s mystery is derived for the listener by trying to follow multiple lines, lines that sway and grapple all in the same moment tumbling out on top of each other. There is a point in the program where the realization must have hit the audience in the Kongresshalle. Berlin that this was a once in a lifetime show, a gathering of the richest talent in the international circle, a distinct vision shared, and that all slips away in time. Human spirit talk, theme in the reeds, soprano horn dances with piano. A theme rises to be seen, and then slips back just out of view, brass smears of color leading into theme entrance, chaotic Jackson Pollock violence high horns, vertigo, altitude, the blues seen from far above the earth."
- CODA Magazine
Cecil Taylor European Orchestra
Enrico Rava: trumpet, flugelhorn
Tomasz Stanko: trumpet
Hannes Bauer: trombone
Christian Radovan: trombone
Wolter Wierbos: trombone
Peter van Bergen: tenor saxophone
Peter Brötzmann: alto & tenor saxophone, tarogato
Hans Koch: soprano & tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Evan Parker: soprano & tenor saxophone
Louis Sclavis: soprano saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
Martin Mayes: french horn
Gunter Hampel: vibes
Cecil Taylor: piano
Tristan Honsinger: cello
Peter Kowald: double bass
William Parker: double bass
Han Bennink: drums
Composed by Cecil Taylor
Recorded live by Eberhard Bingel & Jost Gebers during IMPROVISED MUSIC II/88 on July 2nd,1988 at the Kongresshalle in Berlin.
Mixed by Evan Parker & Jost Gebers.
Mastered by Jonas Bergler.
Produced by Jost Gebers.
Booklet design/layout:Manfred Kussatz & Jost Gebers.
Photos: Dagmar Gebers.