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Niacin Time Crunch album cover
3.69 | 54 ratings | 6 reviews | 17% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Elbow Grease (5:17)
2. Time Crunch (3:13)
3. Stone Face (6:09)
4. Red (8:00)
5. Invisible King (4:27)
6. Daddy Long Leg (5:18)
7. Hog Funk (5:06)
8. Glow (3:05)
9. Damaged Goods (4:25)
10. Outside Inside Out (5:02)
11. Blue Wind (5:51)

Total Time: 56:13

Line-up / Musicians

- John Novello / Hammond B3, piano, synths, arrangements, co-producer
- Bill Sheenan / bass, co-producer
- Dennis Chambers / drums

Releases information

Sub-titled "Kick Ass Time"

Artwork: N. Chaz Bowie II (photo)

CD Magna Carta ‎- MA-9059-2 (2001, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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NIACIN Time Crunch ratings distribution

(54 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

NIACIN Time Crunch reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lor68
4 stars Well this album could be a classic fusion stuff from the USA in the future, even though their debut album was more progressive oriented. Anyway they have been able to make a remarkable tribute to KING CRIMSON ("Red" era), by means of a stunning version of the title track from the "mythical" album with BRUFORD and WETTON. So it's clear that their fusion stuff sometimes steers in the direction of such 70's classic prog, especially by considering the clever use of the Hammond organ by John Novello and the excellent creative bass guitar as well, by Billy Sheehan. Well this issue is perhaps the best effort so far, along with "High Bias", and it seems it fits into such fusion prog perfectly, being suitable for live executions with improvisational stuff!!

Recommended fusion prog, even though is not equal for instance to "Romantic Warrior" by RETURN TO FOREVER. Nevermind Niacin could produce some clever and excellent music -like that one by RTF - in the future.

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars Even the most lazy or shy Hobbit will start to move his body when he is confronted with the music on this fifth album from the Niacin: what a mindblowing blend of rock and jazz! This experienced trio (before Niacin the members played with Georg Clinton, Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea and Andy Summers) makes progrock that is based upon the powerful and distinctive sound of the Hammond organ (the B3): swirling and flashing as a captivating meeting of Keith Emerson and Brian Auger. The rhythm-section is super- propulsive: a fat bass guitar in combination with dynamic and powerful drum work. A big surprise: two excellent renditions from the covers "Blue wind" (Jeff Beck) and "Red" (King Crimson), these two songs almost justify a purchase of this CD! The only mellow track is "Glow" (soft piano), the rest is splendid, very bombastic keyboard driven progrock featuring lots of organ along clavinet, synthesizers and piano. A MUST FOR THE HAMMOND FREAKS!!
Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In case you're curious, 'Niacin' is the classification for vitimin B3, like the Hammond organ which this world-class band works around. A jazz-rock power trio that seem to have clicked immediately, Novello, Chambers and Sheehan creatively peak on this fantastic fusion fare, packed with great mixes of jazz, classical, R&B and rock. These three studs can jam as well as they compose and give it all to us; some rock, some Bach, and covers by the Crims and Jan Hammer/Jeff Beck. Somewhat looser than the average fusion group but with twice the fire, it's hard to go wrong with this great record.
Review by Neu!mann
3 stars It's funny how a band of this caliber can sometimes be found hiding right under your nose. Niacin has always been a familiar name in Western New York, thanks to local bass guitar legend and City of Buffalo hometown hero Billy Sheehan. But it took a decade and more for this ex-Californian émigré to actively seek out any of their CDs, and now I have a lot of catching up to do, kicking myself along the way for waiting so long.

The line-up matches Sheehan with organist John Novello and drummer Dennis Chambers, forming an instrumental trio of certified virtuosos able to generate more kilowatt energy than the New York Power Authority at Niagara Falls. Sheehan attacks his bass with all the fluency and ferocity of a lead guitarist; Novello shuns the latest digital keyboard technology in favor of that old-fashioned analog Hammond B-3 grunge (with occasional digressions on piano and clavinet); and Chambers is never less than rock-solid behind his drum kit.

I'm guessing this 2001 studio album is more or less typical of the band's funky, muscular rock-jazz template, for the sake of easy comparison sounding not unlike THE DREGS, minus the guitars and fiddles of course, and with a distinctive Rust-Belt bar vibe replacing the Southern-fried barnyard boogie of Steve Morse's outfit. The playing is dynamic from start to finish, but in the end there isn't much overall variation to the material, which might explain why the standout tracks are the two covers, both of them links in a musical chain of influence stretching all the back to Rock's mid-'70s Golden Age.

The first is a thrilling re-make of the 1974 KING CRIMSON classic "Red", in which the monster guitar of Robert Fripp is (believe it or not) hardly missed, replaced here by the equally heavy riffing of Novello's Hammond. Closing the album is a likewise energetic update of the old JAN HAMMER/JEFF BECK chestnut "Blue Wind" (from Beck's popular 1976 album "Wired"), with Sheehan's bass guitar approximating the patented pitch- bending whine of Hammer's moog synthesizer.

If the remaining nine original numbers aren't quite as memorable it might just be a question of exposure: when opening up new musical territory we're always going to respond quicker to more familiar touchstones. But the tightness of the playing and the pyrotechnics of the soloing is something to hear, and the album certainly turned my head toward a deeper exploration of this formidable Prog-Fusion trio.

Review by horsewithteeth11
4 stars If you're looking for crunchy, semi-psychedelic jazz fusion, you've come to the right place.

I say that because there's plenty of the stuff found in this album. I actually got it off of a recommendation from a friend of mine who is a big Niacin fan, and he told me to start here. After listening to it several times intently, I can see why he said so. This is quite an amazing album. With a trio consisting of Billy Sheenan, Dennis Chambers, and John Novello, you should already have a general idea of what the music is going to sound like. The Hammond Organ, bass, and drums are all very powerful. The soloing especially from Sheenan on his bass is pretty mind-blowing, and the organ has a noticeable similarity to ELP in it. A really good reason for a prog fan to be interested in starting here with Niacin would be the cover of King Crimson's Red, which I have to admit, is pretty interesting as far as cover songs go. That song, Stone Face, Daddy Long Leg, and Blue Wind are the tracks that stand out the most to me.

This album however does have a few weaknesses. Many of the songs start to sound fairly similar after a period of time and (this is something that I usually don't complain about) because of this, the album probably could have done well without being this long. Otherwise, if you enjoy instrumental music and want to hear psychedelic inspired jazz fusion that I can only describe with the word "crunchy", then this is a 4 star album you'll definitely want to check out.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This is a first for me. I open a demo package and am so impressed I begin the review before the CD is finished. This release is THAT important. Jazzers will dig this. Fusion heads will get into it. Prog rock fans will drool. Rockers will bang heads. And anyone who loves awesome keys, monster bas ... (read more)

Report this review (#2582225) | Posted by JazzFusionGuy | Thursday, July 29, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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