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Niacin - Niacin CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.27 | 30 ratings

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Easy Money
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Niacin shows a lot of potential on their first release, but they also expose some areas that could use improving. They play heavy 90s jazz rock fusion with the emphasis on rock. Different songs showcase a variety of influences including 70s ELP, funk, blues, 70s hard rock and straight ahead jazz. Everyone on this CD is an excellent musician and the songs are tight and energetic, but there are some problems that need to be dealt with.

One of the main problems with Niacin is their monotonous sound. Every single song is bass, drums and B3 with some occasional piano in the background. They rarely use any effects or studio tricks of any kind. Basically this CD sounds like a live gig without the energy and ambience of a live gig. On the very last song they run the B3 and bass through echo and reverb and end up with a song that is a breath of fresh air after all the sameness.

The other main problem is John Novello's inability to sustain a long solo. His solos are short and usually consist of quick memorized runs or repeated 4 or 5 note riffs. In the liner notes Novello lists some of his favorite players including Jimmy Smith, Brian Auger and Jon Lord. Ironically, these three are considered some of the best organists at playing a long solo. Each one is a master at piling phrases on top of each other as the solo builds in energy. It is possible that Novello is not interested in long solos, but I think that is what a lot of people are looking for in this style of music.

This is a really good band and they play hard. If you don't mind the short solos and predictable sound texture this might be worth checking out.

Easy Money | 3/5 |


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