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Niacin: Organik


At its best, Niacin’s surging, highly personalized music is almost as frenetic and sophisticated as that crafted by the late B3 master Larry Young. While that’s high praise, there are at least 10 tracks among the 13 featured selections from Organik that deserve it. While keyboardist John Novello doesn’t match Young’s blinding speed or imagination, he can play outstanding gritty blues and experimental tunes with equal aplomb, as on “Barbarian @ the Gate,” “Nemesis” and “Magnetic Mood.”

Drummer Dennis Chambers gives Novello the same sort of rhythmic push Tony Williams offered Young, and bassist Billy Sheehan switches from anchoring to leading at the snap of a string. Niacin can do the power-trio bit very effectively, but the band works best when it’s twisting and extending grooves on the fly. While Sheehan sometimes gets a bit carried away with the note barrages, the many excellent pieces on Organik forgive a few moments of excess.

Originally Published