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Billy Sheehan/John Novello/Dennis Chambers: Niacin

If you long for the ragged-edged quiver & purr of the Hammond B-3 organ as used in its ’70s power-rock mode, then Niacin (get the joke?) (Stretch SCD-9011-2; 62:29) may be just the prescription for you. A crackling, muscular fusion effort featuring rock bassist Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big), Hammond master John Novello and drummer Dennis Chambers, Niacin is, thankfully, worlds apart from yawner contemporary bands who practice their “smooth jazz” under the fusion banner. This is daring stuff: from the funky ride “Three Feet Back” to the pulsing “Bullet Train Blues,” the trio’s compositions are juiced by the fuzzy, ragged presence of the Hammond-a sound designed to make your speakers quiver. This trio plays with soul and style-butjust when you think you have their pumped-up fusion style figured out, they throw a curve ball-like an elegant, dark interpretation of Igor Stravinsky’s classical melody, “Spring Rounds.”

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