NIACIN — Organik (review)

NIACIN — Organik album cover Album · 2005 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Atavachron
An astonishingly good record from one of the premier fusion trios of our time, 'Organik' rocks as hard as it impresses. John Novello's gritty Hammond organ takes the lead with dizzying lines of church-rock and bluesy gospel fire. Backing him up on bass is the tapping ex-metal god Billy Sheehan and on skins is Dennis Chambers, maybe the finest drummer currently in jazz rock. Full of mind-boggling rhythms, jagged counterpoint, confounding grooves, and a deft conjoining of modern jazz, R&B, hard rock, Bach-isms and classic progressive fusion, Chambers, Novello & Sheehan deliver the goods on what is their most powerful and accomplished studio work.

From the bumblebee kinetics of the opening 'Barbarian at the Gate' we know we're in for a special ride and in good hands as the band punches us into a stupor with lighting moves and tumbling action, stops on a dime and then explodes again. 'Nemesis' grooves right into place and builds into a jam to die for, each player giving more than their all and playing as if they had an hour before the world came crashing down around them, a feeling maintained for 'Blisterine', a title that speaks for itself ('I've got blisters on me fingers!!'). The easier, jazz club sounds of 'King Kong' provide a nice rest while still bubbling away, resurrecting the Hammond sounds of the great Jimmy Smith with joy and some cool improv. The semi-tango 'Super Grande' becomes a hardrocker with swells of organ, 'Magnetic Mood' drags a bit but is saved by a speedy rollercoaster mid-section, and 'Hair of the Dog' is a classy fusion bopper reminding of Chambers' other group CAB with some nice modern jazz and bottomy bass. '4`5 3' is a fascinating slice of fugue-rock battered by rhythm`n blues and angular twists and turns, while cuts like 'Club Soda' and 'No Shame' let in some funk but never enough to spoil this jazzical feast. The album closes with the rich and pretty 'Footprints in the Sand'. Niacin (named for vitamin B3, also the type of organ used) is a true unit; all three members at once leading and following, always giving but never hogging, forward moving, not to be denied. One of the best releases of 2005. Man, what a band.
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