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The Nice

Symphonic Prog

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4 stars The Nice and ELP are the same band with Keith Emerson as leader. In the case of The Nice with David O'List (guitar, only in first album), Lee Jackson (bass) and Brian Davison (drums). ELP are Emerson, Lake (bass) and Palmer (drums). The Nice was a PP Arnold backing band, in first days.

My sentence is true if you listen to this compilation and first ELP album (with "Tarkus"). The Nice was more Symphonic Prog and ELP was more Classic Rock. But the final result is the same: Great Prog Rock!

This compilation is good if you search the more Rock side of The Nice, also if the msic is not Rock: "Rondo" and "War And Piece" was penned by Emmerlist Davjack, "America" is an adaption from "West Side Story" and "Intermezzo from the Karelia Suite" was penned by Sibelius. The other songs are in the same direction: Classic music played with Rock instruments. So The Nice was innovative in the end of 60's more that Procol Harum or The Moody Blues. Innovative as the same level of King Crimson or Yes. But when the Prog Rock exploded The Nice evolved into ELP losing a lot of inventiveness since become a pure expression of Emerson (and, minimally, of Lake). The power of "Rondo" was never reached (even from "Tarkus") but this was not a problem.

In definitive I prefer to judge The Nica as first incarnation (or the same band) of ELP. And this compilation is extremely good in this sense.

Report this review (#376377)
Posted Saturday, January 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars At the end of the 60s many musicians decided to play something new and among them some geniuses ended up inventing new forms of music that were defined Progressive over the years. Keith Emerson (one of those geniuses who will forever be regretted) formed The Nice. This band merged Rock and classical music (also reprising / covering classical music compositions) and managed to be innovative and inspirational for other bands (read the Dutch band Ekseption, another band with the same concept!) But failed to evolve because the musicians involved and the label didn't have the means for Keth Emerson not to want to form a better band, the ELP with Greg Lake and Carl Palmer. But this was also due to the fact that The Nice Progressive failed to emerge from an embryonic (albeit 100% symphonic) form.

The problem with some compilations is that they are produced by labels that specialize in compilations and are in the catalog for a short time. And, sometimes, the problem is that these labels are ephemeral (or a little more). Moreover with The Nice it is easy to build a compilation that is the definitive album. This is for me this compilation. I will not describe every song as I never do this by reviewing a compilation. I will talk about the style, a sort of very powerful and symphonic Rock, sometimes with heavy (and badly aged) arrangements and sometimes still fresh and engaging as at the end of the 60s. In fact it should be noted that The Nice was a poorly produced band (other albums sounded much better at the time) and this was also due to the fact that the musicians (Keith Emerson aside) seem to be a bit forced to play music which they fail to make it look totally natural (but it wasn't that obvious at the time). And at the time The Nice was much more evolved than similar bands, which still managed to mix all the elements in one solution.

"The Best Of The Nice" has become an extremely rare compilation today. But, given the songs included in it, it's not wrong to call it a sort of definitive The Nice album.

Report this review (#2570231)
Posted Friday, June 11, 2021 | Review Permalink

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