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NIACIN‘Live!’ (Magna Carta MA-9063-2) (2003)

Who you may ask? Well it’s a freeform, jazz rock styled musical trio comprising of bassist Billy Sheenan (ex-Dave Lee Roth/Mr Big/Talas), drummer Dennis Chambers (ex-Santana) and keyboard player John Novello. It’s an all instrumental affair ranging from the uptempo ‘Bullet Train Blues’, where the Hammond work of Novello takes a front seat to mellower moments like ‘One Less Worry’, where drummer Dennis Chambers takes a lead role. Then you get covers, ‘Purple Rain’ by Prince with an almost religious arrangement and the Supremes’ classic ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’ (also famously covered by Vanilla Fudge), sounding not unlike Deep Purple!

There are two unreleased studio tracks, ‘Front And Center’, featuring some tasty keyboard/bass interplay and ‘Gelatin’, taking on a prog rock leaning. Both blend well with the live material rather than just being last minute add ons.

A very talented combo that more than make-up for the lack of guitar by pushing the keyboards into that role and it works well.



Review by Jason Ritchie

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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