Wynton Marsalis And Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra Vitoria Suite

This is the latest addition to composer, bandleader Marsalis's impressive body of work with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. It was inspired by his long relationship with the Vitoria Festival in northern Spain, sparked by a request that Marsalis write a short blues piece to celebrate the Festival's 25th anniversary back in 2003. As explained in the Festival president's rather gushing liner notes, the project grew into this two-CD, 12-part work. In Vitoria Suite, Basque and flamenco elements are incorporated into jazz and blues styles in seamless, and often thrilling, fashion. Spanish guitar virtuoso Paco De Lucia is given prominent billing on the cover, although he's featured on just two of the compositions. Other Spanish musicians contribute ― such JLCO stars as sax men Victor Goines, Walter Blanding and Joe Timperley are as reliably excellent as ever, and Marsalis is featured effectively on three numbers. Marsalis has occasionally been justifiably criticized in the past for an overly cerebral approach, but the Latin influences here have kept that at bay. (Emarcy/Universal)