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NIACIN

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United States


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Niacin picture
Niacin biography
Founded in 1996

NIACIN features John Novello on Hammond B3 organ & keyboards, Billy Sheehan on bass and Dennis Chambers on drums. All are seriously accomplished musicians and play everything from rock, funk, jazz, fusion, progressive and beyond. They are an instrumental group, so the focus is obviously on interesting composition and inspired improvisation. Yet the musical roots of the band's members go back to the late 60's and early 70's progressive rock giants with whom they are so often (and rightly) compared to, like:YES, GENESIS, EMERSON LAKE & PALMER, KING CRIMSON, TRAFFIC.

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NIACIN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

NIACIN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.24 | 30 ratings
Niacin
1996
3.31 | 34 ratings
High Bias
1998
3.68 | 34 ratings
Deep
1999
3.68 | 51 ratings
Time Crunch
2001
4.19 | 84 ratings
Organik
2005
3.61 | 32 ratings
Krush
2013

NIACIN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.94 | 7 ratings
Live (Niacin)
1998
4.55 | 22 ratings
Niacin Live! Blood, Sweat and Beers
2003

NIACIN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.46 | 7 ratings
Niacin Live: Blood, Sweat & Beers
2003

NIACIN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

NIACIN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

NIACIN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Time Crunch by NIACIN album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.68 | 51 ratings

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Time Crunch
Niacin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by JazzFusionGuy

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 bass and slammin' drums MUST grab this. I received this CD and liner notes "naked" and I instantly assembled a fine jewel case for this gem. This release is so, so very dense, in-your-face, pumping, groovin', funked, slick, soul-fired jammin' and darn good fun. I was very tempted to do dashboard air-keyboards listening to this on the road. This Time Crunch has the punch, lushness, and full sound of ELP's Tarkus, (especially clear on "Stone Face"), U.K.'s legendary releases, and Derek Sherinian aka Planet X's efforts. Sheehan's bass work is immense, fluid, fast, and furious. Novello's keys are a surround sound experience with Jan Hammeresque lead fills and solos. Sheehan solos mean as well. Chambers is a solid powerhouse of relentless pummelings and graceful powerglides. This is eleven songs of near-perfection. And guess what? I enjoyed this CD immensely yet there are NO LEAD nor RHYTHM GUITARS herein. Wow! I must give this CD a 9.9 outta 10. Otherwise someone might think I wrote a biased review or something . . . time to hit replay . . . By the way, Niacin does two prog-fan-friendly covers; "Red" by Fripp and friends and the outro cut, "Blue Wind" by Jan Hammer. Alas, one very, very wee complaint: that psuedo-horn, mimed to a Miles-mute-Davis-cool, via a synth lead on "Daddy Long Leg" was an irksome sound-bank, voice choice. It sounded ultra cheesy aka fake. Don't use that setting on tour! I'd suggest instead that fuller Hendrixian-axe setting Hammer used on "Jetstream" off his Black Sheep and do the Jimi jive next time. 'Nuff said.
 Organik by NIACIN album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.19 | 84 ratings

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Organik
Niacin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by JazzFusionGuy

3 stars This new power-trio release, (no screaming guitars here folks), smokes! Great keys by Novello, super bass by Sheehan and voodoo drums out the wazoo in overdrive by Chambers.

Though sent many new "fusion" CDs lately -- I haven't been overjoyed or overly impressed to date -- but Niacin's Organik came yesterday and it kicks and grows on ya. It stayed spinning in the player a good while longer than most CDs that I receive. I really dug their Time Crunch CD release before this one and on Organik they have dipped into more of a prog rock & jazz roots vein. Find much virtuoso heaviness and density here. Some slo-go tunes -- yes, but overall jumpin' jivin' jams set the booty bouncin'. Recommended for Hammond B3 organ junkies -- bassists and drummers will so dig this scene as well. Axemen, buy it, spin it, plug up and practice to it. It's a perfect groovefest to jam with or to just hum riffs with.

 Organik by NIACIN album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.19 | 84 ratings

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Organik
Niacin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A power trio right here folks with Billy Sheehan on bass, Dennis Chambers on drums and John Novello on piano, organ and electric piano. This is a heavy album as the drums and bass create a rock solid foundation with plenty of attitude while John solos over top often changing back and forth a couple of times during a song from organ to piano. They've released six studio albums from 1997 to 2013 and this is number five from 2005. They cover Zappa's "King Kong" very well too but I want to talk about my top five tracks.

First would be "Nemesis" a mid paced and powerful track. The organ dominates early before the piano takes over just before 1 1/2 minutes as the bass and drums continue. Organ is back but the piano will make a return. I have to say that although the bass and drums create a powerful foundation these two guys are so inventive at changing things up over the album. Just blown away by this rhythm section, I wasn't expecting that.

Another top five would be "Magnetic Mood" with that bass, drums and organ leading the way. I tend to lean to the mid paced tracks over the uptempo ones. The tempo does pick up on this one but it settles back too as this continues throughout. When it picks up the bass is so fast and the drumming before 4 minutes is just so impressive. How about "Stumble On The Truth" another mid paced track with attitude. "No Shame" is catchy and heavy and not uptempo. "Clean House" might be my favourite for the bass especially but also the keyboards that sound like clavinet. I have to mention the Canterbury sounding organ on "Footprints In The Sand" so good!

This sounds pretty amazing cranked up. If your a drum and bass fan like I am then "Organik" is a must.

 Organik by NIACIN album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.19 | 84 ratings

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Organik
Niacin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Squire Jaco

5 stars If you've never heard of this group before, trust me: grab a hundred bucks out of the drawer where you hide your 25-year-old First Communion money, run out of the house and just buy their whole catalog. They're that good!

Niacin (vitamin B3, Hammond B-3 organ - get it?) is the "unknown" John Novello on keyboards (primarily the B-3, but also piano and some synths), Buffalo's own Billy Sheehan on electric bass guitar, and the peerless Dennis Chambers on drums. They combine classic rock B-3 atmospheres with lead guitar-like bass virtuosity, and unreal jazz/rock drumming that drives and grooves and impresses all over.

To my ears, "Organik" is the most progressive sounding of their five studio cds up to this point, and sort of follows a progression (if you will) that started with their last cd "Time Crunch", in which they covered Crimson's "Red" and Jan Hammer's "Blue Wind". Certainly from their very first eponymous album, they've had a sound that is frequently compared to "an instumental jazzy ELP", so the transition towards more prog rock/jazz fusion is not a big stretch. (The fact that they've been on the Magna Carta label for the last few cds has probably influenced that transition.)

This is a GREAT album with absolutely no low spots. And even though the personnel and instruments (mostly) remain the same, every album by this group is different. I never feel like "O.K., I've got enough of this Niacin stuff now." Where their first couple of cds were more eclectic and sometimes funkier, "Deep" was more bluesy, and the last two are more prog/jazz with a greater variety of keyboard sounds (but still predominantly B-3).

The compositions continue to impress and excite, the production is excellent, and the playing (and interplay among musicians) is just so extraordinary - each member of the group sure sounds like they're 100% committed to this project on every track. Personal favorites after a few listens are "Blisterine" (infectious bass line), "Stumble on the Truth" and "Clean House". About halfway through "Club Soda", there are some background wordless vocals that make that a cool song too.

I love this band. Saw them live about 15 years ago - they're all friendly, down-to-earth maestros. So, take your vitamins...and buy this highly recommended cd.

 Deep by NIACIN album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.68 | 34 ratings

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Deep
Niacin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by TCat
Forum & Site Admin Group Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Niacin is a trio of first rate musicians made up of a keyboardist (organ and piano), bassist and percussionist. Almost every song is instrumental, but there is one exception on this album - track 12 has guest vocalist Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple and guest guitarist Steve Lukather from Toto. The rest of the album is made up of amazing playing and all 3 band regulars are hugely talented. The bass runs rival Geddy Lee, the keyboard solos are right up there with Keith Emerson and the percussion rivals any drummer you can come with including Bill Bruford and Carl Palmer. The music can leave your heart pounding when you listen to the technicality going on here. The album is brimming with outstanding solos throughout. There is a lot of jamming going on around the melodies that are apparent on each track. This is amazing listening, for sure and it is definitely progressive jazz/rock fusion, probably relying on the rock side more than the jazz side, but don't worry if you love improvisation because it is all throughout this album.

The main issue I have with it, is that there is not a lot of variety. This would have easily been a 5 star album if there was more variety throughout the album, but as it is, most of the tracks are at the same whirlwind tempo and if you are not paying attention, the tracks seem to meld together. There is an early variation early on the album at the beginning of track 2 with an amazing slow tempo piano solo, but it gets interrupted about halfway through by a return to the same sound evident throughout the album. Another standout here is "Panic Button" which has a bass run that sounds like someone did hit the panic button and the bass is in full-fledged panic mode. With many listens, the melodies start to stand out more, but people looking for variety won't find much of that here. You will find a lot of jamming and top notch musicianship however. But, knowing what the instrumental lineup is, I think you can pretty much imagine how this is going to sound. Organ, bass, drums....quite basic lineup, but every player here is amazing.

This album is probably better in smaller doses because the formulaic playing starts to wear out after about 4 tracks, so 4 tracks at a time is about the recommended dosage for your daily intake of Niacin. So, 4 stars which are awarded because of the musicianship, but know that too much of a good thing can be "too much of a good thing".

 High Bias by NIACIN album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.31 | 34 ratings

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High Bias
Niacin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars 1997 and the rising wave of Niacin shows a tremendous energy on the first live album of the trio ''Live!-Blood, Sweat & Beers'', released on Videoarts.The following year Sheehan, Novello and Chambers released the second studio album of the group, both on Videoarts and Chick Corea's Stretch label, entitled ''High bias''.

The album is moving again into organ-based Fusion realms, but surprisingly the trio shows again a huge amount of energy and passion, delivered in numerous compositions with strong nostalgic vibes, scanning the delicate, jazzier stuff of GREENSLADE and ending up in furious, jazzy interplays along the lines of WEATHER REPORT.And speaking of WEATHER REPORT, the second piece ''Birdland'' is actually a great cover on the Jazz/Fusion veterans' eponymous track from ''Heavy weather''.The music is again very technical with extreme care on the deep bass work of Sheehan and the drums of Chambers, producing pounding and dynamic grooves for Novello to unfold its undenied talent.From fast paces to more doomy passages, the man always fills the sound with amazing solos and lovely piano lines, scanning the territories from US Fusion to Latin Jazz.Really good stuff with very tight playing and some more ethereal parts added for good measure.The last track ''Hang me upside down'' was composed by CHICK COREA, who also performs on electric piano.This piece has very strong nods from the 70's-era of RETURN TO FOREVER and the combination with Novello's virtuosic organ washes is simply great.

One of the best Fusion bands of the recent age.A couple of keyboards and a accomplished rhythm section manage to unleash an album full of pleasant, delightful and very energetic instrumental music.Strongly recommended.

 Krush by NIACIN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.61 | 32 ratings

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Krush
Niacin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Oreste

3 stars This is a good album but nothing more. Billy, John and Dennis make their excellent job but not with the usual innovative and brilliant energy. Mixing the jazz, progressive rock and funk can be difficoult and exciting, giving to the players for first , and to listeners then, terrific, amazing results. Today this album, looks like to be a job, well done, but at the end only a job. All the tracks are without the primeval energy of creation, that these guys have shown in the past. The sound is always the same, the technicals are excellent, the a-solos are a bit repetetives and the tracks are built around poor ideas, poor contents. For me this album shows exactly what happens when the capabilities are counting more than the ideas: great job, no feelings. Said that, Krush is anyway a good album, but not in their best, deserves 3 stars for me.
 High Bias by NIACIN album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.31 | 34 ratings

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High Bias
Niacin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Oreste

4 stars This is a great album. In the earing of this album, beyond the capabilities of the players and theirs virtuosisms not in dicussion with these guys, you may ask yourself what kind of music is. This question looks to be useless, and maybe at the end it is, but is what we usually do trying to classify music: the answer slips away like sand through the fingers. That's why Niacin show us a mix of differents genres keeping the best from each one, achieving the goal to be always new track after track. Is that really important? Exploring the branches of differents genres, melting and rebulding them in a new flavour, means to dare himselves to give us a such terrific sound. I think that the real class for Niacin is "progressive fusion", one of the best results on this hard path ever heard, never boring: a real joy for ears. . For me deserves 4+
 Live  (Niacin) by NIACIN album cover Live, 1998
3.94 | 7 ratings

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Live (Niacin)
Niacin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Joćo Paulo

4 stars A great live performance of this American band. The original songs are very good in live context. A new version of Prince Purple Rain that is nothing special but in general this a very good album. The intrument that we listen in all this live context is keiboards (organ) that are great and give a seventies remember sound. A great drums solo a great bass work. First time I listen this album I like the ritm and first music is an example of that. If you like a sound like Gentle Giant in some organ parts and a positive music you like this album. I like and I give 4 stars
 Organik by NIACIN album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.19 | 84 ratings

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Organik
Niacin Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Ovidiu

5 stars ORGANIK is another breathtaking demonstration of the outstanding qualities of the 3 musicicns which compose this fabulous trio of virtuosos-NOVELLO-CHAMBERS and SHEEHAN!This new album doesn't bring nothing special compared to the previous ones-all are stellar and amazingly impressive,so this album doesn't have any surprise-you get what you expect,that;s for sure!It's a tornado of rhythms in the most spectacular way possible!I can imagine that for guys which intent to start learning and practicing an instrument,when they make a first audition of no matter what NIACIN albums,they will cut their fingers off!Here comes the natural gift of NOVELLO,CHAMBERS and SHEEHAN,but also the prove that musicianship and technical skills atone atomic level is the fruit of hardworking musical practice developed in years!It's unbelieveble how only 3 musicians and without the help of any guitar can sound sometimes so aggressive and complete to admit that we don't even need the presence of a guitar!Some really crypted songs like KING KONG or HAIR OF THE DOG are pure demonstration of unbelieveble musicianship ,but the rest are more song orientated!In this genre,-BASS-DRUMS and KEYS we think ,of course to the giants EMERSON-LAKE AND PALMER and BARBARIANS @ THE GATE is a tribute to the legendary trio,and we can make also comparaisons with Johansson Brothers with Jonas Hellborg-the album E is fabulous,and NIACIN come with a more modern touch,including mostly funk elements but the basic is definitelly fusion music!It's difficult to say which musician is making the biggest impression,all are equals in their fantastic musical skills,so all I can say is that ,at a certain level NIACIN is music only for musicians!In fact,they don't have anything to prove anymore,NIACIN is only a bunch of good friends,which,from time to time,meet each other and play..play...play!The final result is each time impressive. 5 LOGICAL STARS for another killer instrumental fusion album made by 3 giants of today's music!
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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