Ed Littman Splatt (67:11) Yeah Man Records YM8012 firstname.lastname@example.org 2001 (Rec. 2000) Whereas 1999's My Window featured guitarist Ed Littman in the company of one of jazz fusion's most famous rhythm teams (Mark Egan and Danny Gottlieb), this debut by Littman's "Splatt" trio has more the flavor of a full-time band. Together with Danny Zanker on acoustic and electric bass and John Bollinger on drums, Littman serves up music that sits somewhere between fusion, free jazz, and avant-garde rock. His guitar style calls to mind not only the edgy, dirty funk of John Scofield, but also the more twisted sensibilities of a player like Marc Ducret. His metal proclivities come out on tracks like "Grind It" and "Another Emotion." Both "Yippy" and "Watch Your Step" involve an out-of-tempo yet highly melodic flow that demands tremendous sensitivity from each member of the trio. "Trap-Op" and "Godda Quarter" find Littman messing with tape and noise effects and creating an offbeat, collage-like effect, while the surf-tango atmosphere of "Night Sky" sounds like something right out of Pulp Fiction. Quite a few of the tracks were collectively composed, and two of Zanker's originals — "Loners" and "Plus" — make it on to the disc, highlighting the collaborative nature of the project. Keep the disc playing a few minutes past the end of the final track and you'll hear a couple of "off the record" throwaways that Littman decided to sneak in. The first is a dissonant, multi-tracked acoustic guitar piece and the second is a ditty called "Mr. Blues," which Littman sings and plays as if he's sitting somewhere on a rural front porch. These phantom tracks provoke a bit of psychological speculation: Littman was keen enough to share them by putting them on the disc, but he made it so they could be easily missed. ~David R. Adler 1. Trap-Op 2. Grind It 3. Loner 4. Radio Ready 5. Avar-Hove 6. Gear Winder 7. Yippy 8. Plus 9. Night Sky 10. Godda Quarter? 11. Swank 12. Watch Your Step 13. Another Emotion Ed Littman, guitars, percussion, turntable, backward tapes and sound effects; Danny Zanker, acoustic and electric bass; John Bollinger, drums
Ed Littman, My Window (71:56) Yeah Man Records YM 8011, 1999 250 West 10th Street, Suite GF1 New York, NY 10014 Phone: 212-479-8426 E-mail: Littmuze@yahoo.com Guitarist Ed Littman is joined here by the ex-Pat Metheny Group rhythm team of Mark Egan and Danny Gottlieb. Littman's semi-dirty guitar sound is much closer to John Scofield and post-80s John Abercrombie than to Metheny, however. There's a live-sounding spontaneity to Littman's music, especially on "You Mean So Much to Me" and "Chasm," both of which were freely improvised in the studio. But even the more arranged cuts have a certain rawness. Overproduction is definitely not a charge that could be leveled at this fusion-oriented, six-string slinger.
"Gospel Light" and "Mustayoostabee" showcase Littman's blues and funk chops, while "Time Is Only Left" and "First One Down Here" explore more spacious, quasi-avant garde territory. Two acoustic guitar features, "Drop" and "Awakening," afford an especially clear view of Littman's harmonic imagination. At the other end of the spectrum, parts of "Lineage" sound vaguely reminiscent of early Van Halen. "Obfuscation" and the lilting yet intense "Little Beth" fall somewhere in between, with Littman employing a chorus-drenched, treble-heavy clean tone.
There's more than enough variety and uniqueness to make this disc a keeper. ~David R. Adler
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