Cecil Taylor led his 11-piece "Workshop Ensemble" one evening as one of three concerts collectively called "Total Taylor Total." While there are lots of highlights throughout the three long pieces presented, there is nonetheless a sense that more could have been accomplished given the quality of the band members. Taylor anchors the piano and is joined by an all-star collective including saxophonists Evan Parker and Wolfgang Fuchs, bassist Barry Guy, and drummer Tony Oxley. While individual solos are enervating, Taylor is unquestionably more effective as an arranger in the small group (and solo) contexts to which he is accustomed. With the ensemble, there is a sense that ideas are not always fully realized, although, to be sure, there are remarkable moments throughout. Whether charges of incomplete or confusing rehearsals are accurate is immaterial. What matters is that the results, while good, probably could have been better. Regardless, Taylor aficionados will want to own this one because of the players in the band and because of the extraordinary moments.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy