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Having played straightforward hard rock with Mr. Big since the tail end of the '80s, bass virtuoso Billy Sheehan formed Niacin as an outlet for his jazz fusion and prog rock inclinations during the mid-'90s. The trio also featured keyboardist John Novello and drummer Dennis Chambers, both musicians who had crossed frequently between the worlds of jazz and rock during their careers. With Niacin, Novello devoted himself especially to the Hammond B-3 organ, a longtime mainstay of both jazz and prog rock. The band recorded a self-titled debut album in 1996, following it up in 1998 with High Bias. An import-only concert recording, Live!: Blood, Sweat and Beers, surfaced later that year as well. For their next album, Niacin moved from Stretch to Magna Carta, the label that became virtually synonymous with technique-oriented neo-prog rock at the turn of the millennium. Deep was released in 2000 and featured the group's first vocal track, courtesy of special guest Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple), as well as Toto guitarist and session ace Steve Lukather. ~ Steve Huey