Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"The two-disc Vitoria Suite is a joint homage to jazz, blues, southern Spanish flamenco and northern Spanish, Basque folk music. And the first thing to say is that it isn't a revisitation of trumpeter Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain (Columbia, 1960). While Davis' album was built around compositions by the Spanish composers Joaquin Rodrigo and Manuel de Falla (and others by arranger Gil Evans), Vitoria Suite is entirely composed by Marsalis; and while flamenco palmas (hand claps), jaleos (vocal exhortations) and cajon (wooden frame drum) are recurring motifs in Vitoria Suite, the north American/Spanish blend is neither as deep nor as brooding as it was on Sketches of Spain. Instead, in the main, Marsalis uses the Spanish tinge to color the music... Vitoria Suite is inventive, vitalising, superbly performed and totally engaging throughout its 90+ minutes playing time." -All About Jazz
"'Vitoria Suite" is Wynton Marsalis's "Sketches of Spain." Miles Davis enlisted the help of arranger Gil Evans to create his look at music of that Iberian nation. Marsalis does it with his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, which is filled with great sidemen-soloists such as Pittsburgh trumpeter Sean Jones, saxophonist Walter Blanding and guest Paco De Lucia, the guitarist. The result is a 12-piece suite that blends the flamenco rhythms of the Basque region of Spain with the harmonies and phrasing of American jazz. "Smooth in the Night," for instance, sounds like a Spanish ballad as seen by Duke Ellington. On the other hand, "Buleria el Portaton" is dominated by the rhythms offered in its opening handclaps. The two CDs of music are accompanied by a DVD of Marsalis talking about each piece with samples of the performances. This is a remarkable, energetic and seemingly award-winning effort." -Pittsburgh Tribune
"The arrangements and the playing are immaculate — as ever, the trumpeter and his big band negotiate the most intricate passages with the minimum of exertion." -The Sunday Times
JazzTimes (p.58) - "[A] richly rewarding two-CD set that cleverly combines the language of flamenco with the trumpeter's native tongue of jazz."
Personnel: Paco de Lucía (guitar); Israel "Piraña" Suarez (percussion).
Recording information: The Aula Magna, Conservatorio De Música "Jesús Guridi", (07/20/2009-07/22/2009).
Photographers: Frank Stewart; Josu Izarra; Luis Montoya.