ED LITTMAN - JAZZ GUITAR - WILD - UNPREDICTABLE - "Eclectic Earwig Reviews Music and More for You!"
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Ed Littman
Splatt (67:11)
Yeah Man Records
YM8012
littmuze@edlittman.com
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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