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THE NICE

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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The Nice biography
The NICE was the precursor to one of progs most influential bands - EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER. This band began their career at the dawning of rock and its sub genres, the closing of the sixties and an era of growing desires to challenge the boundaries of popular music. The four musicians branched out, utilizing and combining classical, jazz, blues and rock music to forge a new and dynamic sound - later to be known as Progressive Rock. The seeds were already sown for the Symphonic and Orchestral style of music that Keith EMERSON would champion throughout the decades to come.

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Buy THE NICE Music


Fillmore East 1969Fillmore East 1969
Import
Emd Int'l 2009
Audio CD$7.02
$8.55 (used)
Here Come the Nice: Immediate AnthologyHere Come the Nice: Immediate Anthology
Box set · Import
Castle Music UK 2000
Audio CD$2,597.36
$59.99 (used)
Five BridgesFive Bridges
Import
EMI Europe Generic 2002
Audio CD$4.43
$3.16 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Inna NICE UP! Fashion Various Artists Audio CD USD $17.11 Buy It Now
Saint-Saens "Messe De Requiem" Jean-Gabriel Gaussens RCA Red Seal SAR 22130 NICE USD $16.99 Buy It Now
Alice Cooper - Greatest Live Hits Mr. Nice Guy Tour 2010 - 2 CD Limited Ed.- New USD $8.72 Buy It Now
Naughty N Nice [7" VINYL] Vinyl USD $10.30 Buy It Now
Gold For The Road - Original Artists - Gently Used Music CD - VGC - NICE MUSIC USD $5.99 Buy It Now
THE SMITHSONIAN COLLECTION You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To CD Love Songs USD $11.00 Buy It Now
Bobby Darin: "Baby Face" / "You Know How" - his '61 Rocker w-NM/EX vinyl USD $4.50 Buy It Now
Frank Sinatra FRANK SINATRA / SOME NICE THINGS I'VE MISSED 2-LPs Reprise/WB NM USD $24.95 Buy It Now
Lou Christie: "Lightnin' Strikes"/"Cryin' In The Streets" - '65 hit - very nice! USD $4.50 Buy It Now
MILDRED R.: St. James Infirmary / Anytime 45 (nice version) rare Oldies USD $40.00 Buy It Now
Brook Benton Lie to Me Orig Mono DJ Promo LP Male Pop Vocal VG to VG+ Plays Nice USD $19.95 Buy It Now
The Four Seasons: "December '63" / "Who Loves You" - double hits - nice pl well USD $4.50 Buy It Now
4 Tops on Broadway Orig Motown Soul LP Shrink Inn Slv NM Vinyl Stereo NICE 1st USD $14.95 Buy It Now
Jan August Accent Latin Piano by Orig ST LP Plays Nice Pop Instro Cheesecake USD $11.95 Buy It Now
GIL BACA ORCHESTRA: Glory Of Love 45 (nice version) Oldies USD $15.00 Buy It Now
BOB SEGER ~ Against The Wind ~ 1980 Capitol LP w/ orig. photo-lyric inner Nice! USD $4.50 Buy It Now
Robert Tepper: "No Easy Way Out" from "Rocky IV" - nice 45 - plays NM - w-Pic Sl USD $4.00 Buy It Now
Steely Dan: "Josie" / "Black Cow" - their '77 Pop Rock hit - nice vinyl - pl NM! USD $4.00 Buy It Now
IKE CARPENTER nice nm lp on SCORE, 1957 USD $50.00 Buy It Now
The Four Bells: "Here" / "Dream, Dream, Dream" - '54 Pop - 7" 78rpm - nice! USD $4.00 Buy It Now
Gogi Grant: "The Big Beat" - her rare 1958 Pop EP with NM vinyl and nice cover! USD $10.00 Buy It Now
Dixie Dregs 2 lp lot - What If & Unsung Heroes Nice vinyl USD $4.99 [0 bids]
The Beatles...Love me do/PS I love You...picture disc..nice USD $15.99 [0 bids]
USD $24.99 Buy It Now
The Beatles....Magical Mystery Tour....very good+++ to near mint...!! nice! USD $45.99 [0 bids]
USD $69.99 Buy It Now
MIXED ROCK LOT OF 6 VINYL RECORDS LPS WHITESNAKE PROMO NICE VINYL USD $14.99 [0 bids]
KEITH EMERSON WITH THE NICE BEST OF DOUBLE LP ALBUM ELP NM- NO LAKE NO PALMER USD $14.99 [0 bids]
USD $19.99 Buy It Now
John Lennon...Imagine..purple Capitol.....nice! USD $14.99 [0 bids]
USD $24.99 Buy It Now
LOT OF CLASSIC ROCK VINYL RECORDS LED ZEPPELIN LP ALBUMS NICE COLLECTION USD $9.00 [2 bids]
Have A Nice Day Stereophonics USA CD single (CD5 / 5") promo V2DJ-27707-2 V2 USD $16.54 Buy It Now
Beatles Abbey Road LP Still Sealed 33 Rpm John Paul George Ringo Very Nice USD $50.00 [0 bids]
USD $80.00 Buy It Now
John Lennon...Mind Games..green apple....nice! USD $14.99 [0 bids]
USD $24.99 Buy It Now
TOUT SWEET Another Man Is Twice As Nice 12" VINYL UK Buzz 2 Track B/W Dub Mix USD $6.23 Buy It Now
JOHN CAMPBELL (DANCE) Nice And Slow 12" VINYL UK Almost 1997 4 Track Strictly USD $6.23 Buy It Now
YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA Nice Age 12" VINYL UK A&M 1980 2 Track B/W Rydeen USD $11.09 Buy It Now
LEMON TREES Love Is In Your Eyes 12" VINYL UK Oxy 1992 3 Track B/W So Nice USD $3.92 Buy It Now
JOOXIE NICE Fat To The Buff 12" VINYL Yush 4 Track B/W Wet Him Up And Versions USD $6.23 Buy It Now
LUCY ANN POLK 78 rpm VICTOR promo I'd 've baked a cake/It so nice to have a man USD $1.99 [0 bids]
BAJA MARIMBA BAND Fowl Play LP VINYL UK A&M 11 Track Nice Clean Copy (Amls917) USD $3.92 Buy It Now
SOFTIES Nice And Nasty LP VINYL UK Charly 1978 12 Track White Label Test USD $15.03 Buy It Now
ANTONELLO SALIS Orange Juice/Nice Food LP VINYL US Hat Hut 1980 2 Track In USD $17.65 Buy It Now
NICE PRICE SAMPLER Various LP VINYL UK Cbs 1986 16 Track Featuring Ozzy USD $9.78 Buy It Now
THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS - SOUL AND INSPIRATION - (VERVE 10383) CLASSIC, NICE!!! USD $7.00 Buy It Now
FRANK SINATRA Nice N Easy LP VINYL US Capitol 1960 12 Track . Yellow And Red USD $8.47 Buy It Now
NICE 'N' EASY Various DOUBLE LP VINYL UK Philips 24 Track Stereo Double USD $6.23 Buy It Now
HEART S/T LP VINYL UK Epic 1981 10 Track Nice Price Reissue (4601741) USD $8.47 Buy It Now
NICE Autumn 67 Spring 68 LP VINYL UK Charisma 1972 9 Track Perspective Issue USD $8.47 Buy It Now
NICE Autumn 67 Spring 68 LP VINYL UK Pink Charisma 1972 9 Track Perspective USD $6.23 Buy It Now
MOTOWN MAGIC Various LP VINYL UK Tamla Motown 1965 16 Track Mono Pressing Nice USD $6.23 Buy It Now
FRANK SINATRA Nice N Easy LP VINYL UK Capitol 1960 12 Track Rainbow Rim Label USD $20.27 Buy It Now
ROBERT GOULET Greatest Hits LP VINYL UK Cbs 11 Track Nice Price Issue In Demo USD $5.23 Buy It Now
WATT NICOLL Nice To Be Nice LP VINYL UK Xtra 1971 11 Track Sleeve Has Creasing USD $6.23 Buy It Now
MARK AND SUMLEY Nice Things LP VINYL US Evolution 11 Track Ring Wear USD $9.78 Buy It Now
BARBRA STREISAND People LP VINYL Dutch Cbs 1964 12 Track Nice Price Reissue USD $6.23 Buy It Now
NOLANS Making Waves LP VINYL UK Epic 12 Track Reissue In Nice Price Stickered USD $6.23 Buy It Now
MAX MILLER That's Nice Maxie LP VINYL UK Marble Arch 1966 4 Track But Sleeve USD $6.23 Buy It Now
ROBERT GOULET Sincerely Yours LP VINYL UK Cbs 1983 12 Track With Nice Price USD $6.23 Buy It Now
FRANK SINATRA Some Nice Things I've Missed LP VINYL UK Reprise 1974 10 Track USD $11.09 Buy It Now
VIC DAMONE Sings The Great Songs LP VINYL UK Cbs 1983 16 Track Nice Price USD $6.23 Buy It Now
IKE AND TINA TURNER Nice N Rough LP VINYL UK Stateside 1984 16 Track Later USD $11.09 Buy It Now
RONNIE LAWS Mr Nice Guy LP VINYL UK Capitol 1983 9 Track Sleeve Has Sticker On USD $6.23 Buy It Now
CHICAGO Xi LP VINYL Dutch Cbs 1977 11 Track Nice Price Issue In Stickered USD $6.23 Buy It Now
Johnny Hodges A Tribute To Johnny Hodges Vinyl LP MGM Nice Near Mint Record USD $12.95 Buy It Now
Orig Hamilton Joe Frank & Reynolds Self-Titled Vinyl LP Nice Near Mint USD $14.95 Buy It Now
BB King Mr Blues 12" Vinyl LP In Shrink Nice Near Mint ABC Label USD $39.95 Buy It Now
Mabel Mercer - Once In A Blue Moon - Very nice E+ LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Kathy Mathis - Katt Walk - Very nice NM promo LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
The Anita Kerr Singers - Velvet Voices and Bold Brass - Very nice NM LP USD $5.00 Buy It Now
Stan Kenton - Street Of Dreams - Nice VG LP USD $5.00 Buy It Now
Soundtrack - Lalo Schifrin - The Sting II - Very nice E+ LP USD $5.00 Buy It Now
Rex Stewart and His Dixielanders - Boston 1953 - Nice E+ mono LP from France USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Stainless Steal - Can-Can - Very nice NM LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Tom Grant - Mango Tango - Very nice NM LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Jorginho do Imperio - Medalhas e Brazoes - Very nice E Import LP From Brazil USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Chuck Mangione - Jazz Brother - 2 Nice VG+ LP's USD $6.00 Buy It Now
The Marshall Tucker Band - Greetings From South Carolina - Very nice E+ LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Dave Mason - Old Crest On A New Wave - rough cover but Very nice E+ promo LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Van Trevor - You've Been So Good To Me - Very Nice E LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Joe Venuti - Dave McKenna - Alone at the Palace - Nice VG+ LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Fever - s/t self titled - Very nice NM Import LP from Canada USD $6.00 Buy It Now
The Many Moods Of Sandler And & Young - Nice E+ LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Charlie Byrd - Travellin' Man - Nice VG+ LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
William Salter - It is So Beautiful to Be - Nice LP USD $7.00 Buy It Now
Willie Humphrey - New Orleans Clarinet - Nice E+ LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Katrina And The Waves - Waves - Very nice NM LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Grace Markay - s/t - Nice E self-titled mono LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Tom Coster - Ivory Expedition - Very nice E+ promo LP on Fantasy label USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Legal Reins - Please, The Pleasure - Very nice NM LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Christmas With Placido Domingo - Very nice E+ LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
The Best Of Arthur Prysock - Nice VG+ mono LP USD $4.00 Buy It Now
Joni Kaye - Can I Depend On You - Very nice Super rare NM LP on Jeree label USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Erroll Garner - Campus Concert - Very nice E+ LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Koinonia - More Than A Feelin' - Nice E LP USD $5.00 Buy It Now
Ray Repp - Benedicamus - Very nice E LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Lilly Abreu - Brasileira - Very nice NM CD USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Tierra - Together Again - Very nice E promo LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Rhythm Heritage - Last Night On Earth - Very nice NM LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Tim Leese - After Hours - Very nice E+ LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Stanley Frank - Play It Till It Hurts - Very nice NM promo LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Duke Jordan - Sadik Hakim - East and West Of Jazz - Nice VG+ mono LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now
Brass Construction - III - Very nice E LP USD $6.00 Buy It Now

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THE NICE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE NICE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.46 | 112 ratings
The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack
1967
3.27 | 105 ratings
Ars Longa Vita Brevis
1968
3.38 | 76 ratings
Nice [Aka: Everything As Nice As Mother Makes It]
1969
2.93 | 76 ratings
Elegy
1970

THE NICE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.46 | 92 ratings
Five Bridges Suite
1970
2.46 | 4 ratings
BBC Sessions: America
1996
3.96 | 5 ratings
The Swedish Radio Sessions
2002
4.00 | 3 ratings
BBC Sessions
2002
3.44 | 15 ratings
Keith Emerson And The Nice: Vivacitas
2003
4.03 | 11 ratings
The Nice Live at Fillmore East
2009
4.67 | 3 ratings
Diamond Hard Blue Apples Of The Moon
2010

THE NICE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

THE NICE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.85 | 13 ratings
Keith Emerson With The Nice
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Nice (Compilation)
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best Of The Nice (Immediate Compilation)
1971
0.00 | 0 ratings
In Memoriam
1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
1967 - 69
1972
3.85 | 12 ratings
Autumn To Spring
1973
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Immediate Story: Volume One
1975
0.00 | 0 ratings
Amoeni Redivivi
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Nice (Charly Compilation)
1976
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ars Longa Vita Brevis (Box Set)
1977
3.03 | 5 ratings
Greatest Hits
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Gigantes Del Pop - Vol. 52
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
Historia De La Musica Rock
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Keith Emerson & The Nice
1983
3.00 | 3 ratings
The Nice Collection
1985
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Nice Featuring Davey O'List: 20th Anniversary
1987
0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest Hits (Bigtime Compilation)
1988
0.00 | 0 ratings
Intermezzo
1989
4.08 | 4 ratings
The Best Of The Nice
1993
0.00 | 0 ratings
America
1994
3.51 | 3 ratings
The Immediate Collection
1999
4.07 | 9 ratings
Here Come The Nice: The Immediate Anthology
2000
3.95 | 3 ratings
Absolutely The Best
2001
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Immediate Recordings
2006
3.33 | 3 ratings
The Essential Collection
2006

THE NICE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack (Single)
1967
0.00 | 0 ratings
Brandenburger
1968
0.00 | 0 ratings
America (2nd Amendment)
1968
0.00 | 0 ratings
Hang On To A Dream
1969
0.00 | 0 ratings
Country Pie / Brandenburg Concerto No. 6
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
Country Pie - Brandenburg Concerto #6
1970
0.00 | 0 ratings
America / Rondo
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
America / Hang On To A Dream
1981

THE NICE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Five Bridges Suite by NICE, THE album cover Live, 1970
3.46 | 92 ratings

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Five Bridges Suite
The Nice Symphonic Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I see a lot of four and three-star ratings for this album. I can see why, because while this album might not be a hard one to get to, some don't see the enjoyable factor in this one. Just a few days ago, I bought the original record of this album and was very pleasantly suprised. The orchestra linked with the rock trio with Keith Emerson's piano (and organ for that matter) sounds quite natural and smooth. It is hard to place it on a map between jazz and classical music territory. This album has a very jazzy aproach to classical not only in the sense of phrasing and timing overall, but in a flavor of improvisation. This is something I really like, so I really enjoyed the album and the time of listening to it in my armchair went by very quickly. The music was not too heavy on my thoughts and it did not spark a whole lot of thoughts, too. This album and band's work laid foundation for what would be known as and develop to symphonic prog. Concerto For Group and Orchestra by Deep Purple was recorded at more or less the same time as this and this is a much better album in my opninion, being a lot smoother and relaxing.

This is surely not an album for everybody, in the sense that not everybody will get a great pleasure out of it, but by reading reviews which other members have posted, I do not see a lot of strongly negative voice against this album. For some people, this album is lacking, while I really like it and feel like it very well deserves five stars.

 Diamond Hard Blue Apples Of The Moon by NICE, THE album cover Live, 2010
4.67 | 3 ratings

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Diamond Hard Blue Apples Of The Moon
The Nice Symphonic Prog

Review by No Quarter Given 2.0

5 stars I can be thick headed, bull headed and I am an internationally recognised space cadet of the highest rank. But over the last few decades I have strived to gain a sharper focus and a deeper view of music. Then, it is with great aplomb, that I attribute my ability to focus more sharply to DIAMOND HARD BLUE APPLES OF THE MOON, an omnibus opus from the real titan of classical rock, THE NICE.

A completionist dream to be fair, but a wonderful opus from a lunch pail group that work like a group of stevedores. Hey, they had to. They were building a new world that was to eventually become progressive rock. Never mind the odds and ends here. If this was Neil Diamond, of which there is a plethora of these products, things would be different. But here is Diamond Hard, the penultimate mix tape of the Nice for those who are seeking prog valhalla.

I would recommend that you use this as a road map/scavenger hunt to place each song in it's rightful place and time. Nobody cares that the Bible is a book that was compiled over a very long period of time. It certainly moves people to seek enlightenment in it's pages.

When will there be another band like the Nice, (or even a second coming of the Nice), likely never. But we have this to harken to when the earth was a simpler place. More pastoral and pure. We were children once playing in the farm fields of a long ago dream. Can Dylan be fused with Bach? Here you decide. Will Bernstein survive a rock treatment?? You vote. Before there were gods, there were titans. The Nice are the only true classical rock band. All others (though admirable) are mere mirror reflections.

Let's embark together on an old fashioned quest to communicate to the world the one true tenant: that music can never be better than that which was made by the Nice. Death stars and Orc armies will stand in your way. But your armour is impenetrable and you walk with the saintly rhythms of a force more powerful than anything else on earth today.

Pure, neat, primitive.

 Keith Emerson With The Nice by NICE, THE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1970
3.85 | 13 ratings

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Keith Emerson With The Nice
The Nice Symphonic Prog

Review by No Quarter Given 2.0

5 stars One day, as I wandered aimlessly through the shadowy corridors of a music store that had survived the zombie apocalypse, my hand carelessly came to rest on a CD box, that, from all evidence, was very old. The out-of-focus cover picture only added to the other trace indicators of age (dusty, handled, multiple sale stickers). But I did not push it aside. The artist name on the cover brought back memories of the heady days of TARKUS and BRAIN SALAD SURGERY. What was the other name mentioned ... "THE NICE"? I struggled to remember the scattered voices I had heard many decades earlier and what they had actually said. I remembered "GOOD" and "TRY IT". But in those years long past there was a lot of new, and exciting music that needed to be explored.

Now is a different age. The old icons of Prog are long dormant if not completely silent. The CD in my hand started to create a longing for the old carefree days when Progressive rock ruled the music store aisles. The gravitas of that style had even caused Led Zeppelin to issue Houses of the Holy - therein contained the singular most important song of the Progressive rock age - NO QUARTER. I could not see getting back to my home at Bag End fast enough and flip the CD in my computer, download it into iTunes and hear it on my iPod.

It is important to have a clear understanding that I am not one who is easily impressed, and my first hearing of KEITH EMERSON with The Nice was not impressive. But, many things did capture my attention. Why did a Bob Dylan song (with no Folksy stylings) stay in my head. Also, the vocalist, who seemed to bring to mind a rustic, pastoral setting fronting a "rock" band. Plus the nearest thing to a lullaby - "Hang On To A Dream" - I had heard in a long time, caused me to want to press replay (which I had not done since Peter Gabriel I).

Obviously there were astounding goings on. This CD in many ways seemed more like ELP than the real ELP. Things meshed together - classical, rock, jazz, all keyboards, guitars and vocals. Mr. Emerson was not kidding around. He had seen the future in 1967 and it was Progressive music. During the next three or four albums the band set about setting down the infrastructure and boundaries of Classical Rock. They really dropped the big one. The war was over before it started and The Nice were the rulers of the Progressive Rock Universe (nay the creators of Classical Rock). It has taken this long for me to see the light. Arrive at the fact that all of the tired dinosaurs or Art Rock are only the offspring of The Nice and mere reflections of the one true Prog band.

Let this be my first epistle: Romans, Corinthians, Thessalonians, cast aside your golden calf and other false idols. Follow the one true path to aural inspiration. The Nice is the band that will lead you to the promised land only hinted at during the 1960s and KEITH EMERSON with The Nice is the gateway entrance to the lands of milk and honey. The rest of their catalog is an adventure waiting for you. Take your time, enjoy - ye who read are saved.

PRIMITIVE. PASTORAL. RUSTIC

FRESH. PURE. CLEAN.

 Elegy by NICE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1970
2.93 | 76 ratings

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Elegy
The Nice Symphonic Prog

Review by alastairnc

3 stars Recently remastered minus the Emerliststavjack tracks. It sounds so much better than the Virgin cd. No it wasn't the flagship Hammond C3 that Emerson abused, it was the smaller L100 spinet. Also he used a microphone to tap the piano strings and rub along them. So the album? A sweep up of left over and rehearsal tracks that were released after the Nice had disbanded. Mixed by among others Lee Jackson, hence the loud bass. Hang on to a dream is a nice find and trots along nicely with some nice improv from Emo, including a snatch of Summertime. My back pages sounded awful on the Virgin cd, but is cleaned up a treat here, but still a minor track, strating with piano then moving to Hammond. Side 2 is a run through of the track for 5 bridges minus the orchestra, interesting but not very different. America is the diamond. Lots of organ trashing and a full speed run trough the main riff. The energy is similar to the version of Rondo 69 on the third lp. Lots of clangers effects achived by turning the organ on and off. The Hammond tone wheels were driven by a motor that slowed down when the organ was turned off and took a while to regain a constant sped, hence the wails and whoops. The whole thing ends with an almighty crash and Emo running his nails along the reverb springs. Patchy then, but worth it for America
 Keith Emerson And The Nice: Vivacitas by NICE, THE album cover Live, 2003
3.44 | 15 ratings

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Keith Emerson And The Nice: Vivacitas
The Nice Symphonic Prog

Review by spikey123

1 stars Som many bands call it a day, retire, form new bands, become carpenters. So why not the Nice? Several reasons. Lee Jacksons vocals always were dodgy, now they have no power or semblance of music about them, truly bad. Keith Emerson ditched Blinky and Lee years ago to perform with Lake and Palmer as The New Nice....er no ELP, but as Emerson said..he really wanted a new Nice. So umpteen years later and after Greg and Keith fall out again, Keith summons his buddies from obscurity to use them as part of a Keith Emerson Show. What riles me about this release is not just that it isn't very good, but that keith ditches his old pals and uses the next disc to retread some ELP stuff, but without the L or P. Talk about cynical and manipulative!!! He ditched Lee and Blinky before, now he doesn't even give them the benefit of a double cd...oh the ego. Anyway, this release is a long way from the Nice and ELP. Why get this when their other cds are available? No reason, like Prodigal Stranger by Procul Harum, this is the sound of old guys pension funds
 The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack by NICE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.46 | 112 ratings

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The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack
The Nice Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I remember that I read an interview in the early eighties done with Tony Banks (GENESIS`s keyboard player) in 1979 by a Spanish magazine called "Vibraciones". He said that he went to see THE NICE playing in concert and that he liked the band a lot, and that he even wanted to play with them ("they were a very good band"), a thing that never happened, of course. But I listened to this album recently and I can see why Banks liked this band. I also remember that the Dutch band called EKSEPTION, in the liner notes from their debut album which was released in 1969, mentioned that one of the inspirations for their musical style was seeing THE NICE playing in concert. So, I think that THE NICE, while still sounding very influenced by Psychedelic Rock, were as a band pioneers of the Prog Rock music style, particularly of the Symphonic Rock music style.

Being recorded in 1967, I think that I can listen in this album to some very characteristical things which were similar to other albums from the same period. I think that the Psychedelic influences were by 1967 very prominent, and in that year maybe those influences were at their highest point. So, this album has some similar musical things to other albums from the same period, like from "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" by PINK FLOYD (but with more Baroque musical influences), "Mr. Fantasy" from TRAFFIC... I mean, those Psychedelic musical inlfuences were more in the use of sound effects and distortion, with somewhat "whimsical" and "crazy" arrangements and even some humour in some parts (in "Tantalizing Maggie", for example). But there are even some Pop Rock inlfuences in some parts (particularly in "Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack" and "Bonnie K "), with the use of some distorted heavy guitars. "Rondo" is as noisy as EMERSON, LAKE AND PALMER`s version of this song which was recorded live years later, but even if I don`like this song very much Keith Emerson shows his classical music trainning very well in his organ playing. Lee Jackson sang and played his bass guitar very well in general in this album. Brian Davidson was a very good drummer, maybe playing with some excess in some parts, like David O`List. They were young musicians then, of course, so maybe that was the reason this album has some excess in volume in their playing in some parts.

Anyway, this is a good album with still some mixed musical styles which I can`t consider as a full Prog Rock album as a whole. But it shows the early signs of the musical direction that these musicians (particularly Emerson) were looking for then.

 Elegy by NICE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1970
2.93 | 76 ratings

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Elegy
The Nice Symphonic Prog

Review by tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I honestly don't know how much the band members had to do with compiling this post-breakup hodge-podge, but this has all the markings of an attempt to cash in on the contemporary success of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. From that perspective, it actually kinda worked, peaking at #5 on the UK album charts, but I find it a maddeningly mediocre (and almost outright bad) album in its own right. It's another half-live, half-studio affair, though unlike Nice it sets the live material as bookends and puts the studio material in the middle, and both portions are essentially vehicles for semi-engaging Emerson noodling with little of note from the other members. Now, I like Emerson noodling as much or more than most people would, but he can only carry things so far, and this doesn't come close to representing him at his engaging peak.

The studio tracks are awful at worst and pointless at best. Once again the band decides to take on a Dylan cover, this time choosing my beloved "My Back Pages," and while I appreciate the band's efforts to embellish it during the instrumental breaks, I find that I just can't get beyond the singing. Dylan's vocals in the original might irritate some, but he conveyed a perfect balance of humility and majestic power in them. Jumping forward a few years, the version that The Byrds did on Younger Than Yesterday preserved the emotional heft of the original vocal part while adding some nice harmonies and making it a bit more tuneful. This version, though, is a vocal massacre, and whether the tendency to fall out of key repeatedly was intentional doesn't really matter to me. Among the list of artists whose work I generally respect, this is one of the worst Dylan covers I can think of (oddly, another contender for this title is a "My Back Pages" that The Ramones did on Acid Eaters).

The other studio track is the band's interpretation of the 3rd movement of Tchaikovsky's 6th symphony, done in live form on Five Bridges, and it's as dull and pointless as before. As I've said before, the movement is amazing and majestic and rousing and everything a scherzo should be, but it doesn't seem like the band (read: Emerson) really knew what to do with it. There's a distressing sense of auto-pilot here that wasn't really present on the band's "Karelia Suite" interpretation, and certainly wouldn't be present on Pictures at an Exhibition.

The live tracks are a little better on the whole, but not enough so to save the album. In "Hang on to a Dream," the vocal parts improve from "awful" to "anonymous," thanks to the elimination of the generic female chorus and Jackson's very quiet and timid delivery, so that helps some, though not a lot. Emerson leads the band through a lot of different styles over the course of 12 minutes, and it's fun to hear Emerson fully turned loose, but the mid- section could have just as easily been transplanted into any other song. Personally, for this sort of Emerson playing, I'd much rather listen to his piano improvisations in the Welcome Back live album a few years later. And finally, there's a 10-minute rendition of "America," which is a lot of fun for about 6 minutes, then gets a little too organ-stabby-feedback-y for a while, but ultimately is still a blast on the whole. If there's a reason to buy this album, it's definitely "America." That's not really a great endorsement for the album, though; the original studio version is ultimately superior.

I should note that the version I acquired, the 1990 CD release, has a bunch of bonus tracks, but these are just the studio renditions of a bunch of stuff from the first couple of albums. "Dawn," "Diamond-Hard Blue Apples of the Moon," "Daddy Where Did I Come From?" and the like. Were the people reissuing this were counting on the first albums going out of print, so that this album would be the only way to get those tracks? In any case, don't let these entice you into thinking you're getting live or alternate renditions of these tracks if you've already heard Emerlist Davjack and Ars Longa.

 Five Bridges Suite by NICE, THE album cover Live, 1970
3.46 | 92 ratings

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Five Bridges Suite
The Nice Symphonic Prog

Review by tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer

3 stars At the very least, this is better than Concerto for Group and Orchestra. The follow-up to Nice is a live album (as opposed to the half-live Nice) of the band playing with the London Symphony Orchestra, and the first half of the album is a full-fledged rock/jazz/classical-fusion suite (naturally called "The Five Bridges Suite" since it's about five bridges over the River Tyne). It's nothing special, but I don't feel myself getting stupider when listening to it the way I do when listening to the Deep Purple album released earlier in the year. The "1st Bridge" section (it should be noted that the track divisions are completely unrelated to the breakdown of the actual sections of music, which helps explain why I was a little confused as to the organization of the pieces the first couple of times I listened to them) is the longest, and it initially consists solely of the orchestra (playing a piece that sounds an awful lot like a knockoff of Copland's populist period, but there are worse things) before Emerson begins mixing in some piano interludes. The "2nd Bridge" (which is actually on the track labeled "High Level Fugue 4th Bridge") is basically standard solo Nice, with Jackson singing terribly over a decent organ-driven groove. The "3rd Bridge" (actually the first 3 minutes of "Finale 5th Bridge") isn't especially great because Jackson singing gently over an orchestra (with a little bit of background Emerson organ playing) seems kinda gross, but I like the jazzy trio bits in it. The "4th Bridge" section is Emerson playing a brief fugue on piano (with lightly tapping drums in the background), and finally the "5th Bridge" section reprises the "2nd Bridge" section but brings in some saxophones. All in all, the suite isn't amazing, but there are a lot of decent individual moments and little that outright sucks, and considering that this was Emerson's first attempt at large-scale orchestra writing, it's better than it could have been.

The second side is similarly ok, except for the out-of-place closing track "One of Those People," which largely features Jackson singing through a vocoder (it doesn't make him sound any better!) in a way that just makes him sound like a robot in need of a battery change. The live version of the intermezzo from Sibelius' "Karelia Suite" is probably a little better than the original studio version (which was fine itself), partially because of the inclusion of the LSO (which plays the opening portion as normal) but also because it seems like there's a little more energy this time around. Somewhat less successful is the album's interpretation of the scherzo from the 3rd movement of Tchaikovsky's 6th symphony; the original movement is one of the all-time great scherzi, a complete misdirection before the emotional steamroller of the 4th movement, but hearing it in this context makes it seem cheap and gimmicky. The orchestra plays the opening themes solo (aside from some drum taps from Davison) for a very long time, and while the band does work its way in eventually, the two entities never combine in a way that's very satisfying. And finally, the band finds a way to combine the Nashville Skyline Bob Dylan number "Country Pie" with portions of Bach's 6th Brandenburg Concerto, and while it's actually somewhat slick (and it's way more entertaining than the "She Belongs to Me" bore on Nice) it never really leaves me wanting to listen to it again. I really wish Jackson sang better.

This album is ok, but while it was probably intended to appeal to both rock fans and classical fans, I'd have a hard time recommending it to either. There's a such a long distance in quality between the classical music the band (well, Emerson) was writing and the classical music the band was covering that it should have left everybody involved feeling a little embarrassed, and while the band's efforts are noble in spicing up the pieces with organ solos and a rhythm section, they just don't work that well. Still, it's worth hearing a couple of times, and it's actually one of the easier Nice albums to get a hold of, so that's a plus.

 Nice [Aka: Everything As Nice As Mother Makes It] by NICE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.38 | 76 ratings

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Nice [Aka: Everything As Nice As Mother Makes It]
The Nice Symphonic Prog

Review by tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Self-titled albums, especially mid-career self-titled albums (though some debuts qualify as well), are generally treated as an opportunity for a band to make a confident "statement of purpose," indicating that they believe that they are firmly at the peak of their powers and they have established their own unique style. While I believe that The Nice absolutely felt this way when they recorded and released this half-studio/half-live album, I instead find myself listening to this as, in essence, an odd dress rehearsal for Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Unfortunately, there are two main problems with this: Lee Jackson isn't Greg Lake, and Brian Davison isn't Carl Palmer. Jackson's voice continues to be a serious problem, and while he has songwriting credits, he doesn't come across as having the same genuine songwriting gift and ability to counter Emerson that Greg Lake would soon be showing. As players, Jackson and Davison are fine, but they're not electric in the same way that Lake and Palmer would be in regards to making the technical prowess of ELP into the stuff of legend. Overall, this album isn't exactly bad (though it is in parts), but it's weirdly bland for having so much stuff going on.

It's a little disconcerting that the best material on the album by a good distance comes from recycling earlier classics. "Azrael Revisited" is indeed a reworking of "Azrial," only without the great guitar playing of the original (the initial riff is played by piano), and the tune is still quite entertaining, and the long piano-centric jam that occupies much of the second half of the song is pretty rousing. The opener of the live half is "Rondo (69)," and it's basically exactly what you'd expect from a live version of "Rondo" with no guitar. It's a blast, of course, and the rhythm section is still awfully tight, but it seems pretty soon to be getting into releasing stuff like this.

The other studio tracks all leave me with the strong nagging wish to hear them redone by ELP (in their prime). "Hang On to a Dream," a cover of a Tim Hardin number, is utterly beautiful when centered around Emerson's majestic piano parts, and is flat-out abysmal when centered on the vocals. Jackson decided to go the route of using a timid whimper, and the attempts to prop him up with angelic female backing vocals are awfully tacky. Lake probably could have made this into something rivaling "Take a Pebble" if he'd sung it in the early 70s, but this doesn't come close. It should be noted that ELP actually did do a version of this eventually, but this was in the early 90s after Lake had largely lost his voice and Emerson had glommed onto digital synths for all they're worth, so it's not really worth hearing. "Diary of an Empty Day" is worth it for all of the playful and energetic organ/piano work, but it would have done better as an instrumental; the sung parts go in one ear and out the other for me. Finally, the nine-minute "For Example" is an interesting horn-laced mix of blues, jazz and classical, with silly quotes of "Norwegian Wood" and "America" stuck near the end, but the sung parts are pretty unbearable. The first portion is mostly hurt by the unintentional comedy of the whispered "pianissimo" backing vocals, but the mid-section is primarily obliterated by Jackson's hoarse voice bellowing out at full force. Emerson is a blast, though.

On the live side, the concluding track, immediately following "Rondo (69)," is a 12-minute cover of Bob Dylan's "She Belongs to Me," and oh this is not good. I'm not offended in principal by the idea of a jammy expansion of a short Dylan song, but this particular jam is all kinds of tedious, and not at all on the level of, say, the extended versions of "Aquatarkus" that ELP would be playing in a few years. Maybe Emerson suddenly made a big leap between this point and when he joined ELP, but it seems more likely to me that the big leap came solely from his collaborators.

I had a harder time acquiring this particular Nice album than any other, and while it's got its good qualities, it has enough bad qualities that I can't especially recommend that anybody else go through the same trouble. This was the final studio recording from the band, and it's just as well; it's just as likely that the band was only going to get less interesting from here on out. If you can get "Azrael Revisited" and "Rondo (69)" without too much difficulty, though, be sure to give them a listen.

 Ars Longa Vita Brevis by NICE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.27 | 105 ratings

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Ars Longa Vita Brevis
The Nice Symphonic Prog

Review by tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Just as Emerlist Davjack reminds me in broad strokes of Procol Harum's debut album (though I admit that this comparison doesn't hold up very well once I start thinking of specific details of the two albums), so this album reminds me in broad strokes of Shine on Brightly. Both albums feature a clear expansion in ambition over their respective previous albums, as manifested in the presence of a messy sidelong track in the second half; both feature a reduction in the importance of guitar (in the case of The Nice, guitar is almost completely gone thanks to the departure of O'List, though there's a small amount of it in the title track); both albums have a chunk of material in the first half that's more in line with the previous albums and is probably better than the more amibitious material that follows. While these albums strike me as having some parallels, however, I end up preferring Shine on Brightly by quite a bit over this one, even if I think that SOB is possibly the weakest album of Procol Harum's "classic" period.

The 19-minute title track, innovative though it might be, is a complete mess. There are interesting individual passages, especially in the jazz-piano section that follows the main vocal section of the piece, but this mix of jazz, classical (featuring a long excerpt from the 3rd Brandenburg Concerto), drum solos and long keyboard passages strikes me as having little, if any, coherence. Yes, "Tarkus" would be longer than this in a couple of years, but "Tarkus" is one of the most cleanly organized large-scale prog pieces ever written, and I enjoy all of the elements within it greatly. Yes, "Karn Evil 9" would be much more sprawling than this, and have some stupid aspects near the end, but that was at least split into three distinct large-scale sections, and each of them had its own clear personality. This one just keeps going and going, dumping in idea after idea with no clear rhyme or reason, and I find it very tedious. Then again, to the band's credit, it's not like they had clear models to base the piece on, so they deserve some credit for the effort.

The first half is more conventional on the whole, and splits between the psychedelic art-pop of the debut and some more excursions into the world of classical-rock synthesis. The latter is represented by the 9-minute interpretation of the Intermezzo from Sibelius' "Karelia Suite," and it's easy to hear the origins of Pictures at an Exhibition in this. The track starts with the trio playing the basic themes of the original more-or-less faithfully, but this turns into a launch pad for some "explorations" that maintain thematic ties to the original piece, eventually culminating in Emerson squeezing all sorts of unhealthy noises from his organ in the end. This is definitely the peak of the band's attempts to fuse classical and rock, though it does sound a little tame compared to Pictures or "The Barbarian."

Ultimately, though, it's the psychedelic art-pop that I like most; at worst, the first three tracks on this album would have been middle-of-the-pack amongst the Emerlist Davjack material. The opening "Daddy Where Did I Come From?" is a great blast of piano-fueled psychedelic rock, with a mid-section consisting of dad making quite the awkward attempt at explaining procreation to his son (among other things he describes how he fornicated a flower). The son's final response to him is hilarious as well. "Little Arabella" is a cheery jazz-pop ditty (with surprisingly decent Jackson vocals) with lots of subtle organ in the beginning and with a brief bit of bombast in the middle. And finally (since I'm not counting the brief 13-second track that precedes the title track) "Happy Freuds" uses all sorts of interesting treatments on the voices of the various band members as they sing about universal love or something over Emerson's organs. This description may make the song seem kinda stupid but the song is quite nice.

This album is difficult to hunt down, and while it's decent enough I'm not sure it's especially worth the effort. As much as a pretty good album can be, this album strikes me as much more interesting than good, but the "interesting" aspects still end up paling to much of what would start happening over the next couple of years in the world of prog rock. Still, it's worth listening to once or twice.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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