Ed Littman

Splatt

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AllMusic Review by

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 atmosphere, while the surf-tango vibe 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.

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