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THE NICE

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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The Nice picture
The Nice biography
Founded in London, UK in 1967 - Disbanded in 1970

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


Five BridgesFive Bridges
Emi Europe Generic 2002
$5.04
$7.34 (used)
Ars Longa Vita BrevisArs Longa Vita Brevis
Castle 2003
$44.99
$19.62 (used)
Fillmore East 1969Fillmore East 1969
Emd Int'L 2009
$8.39
$9.91 (used)
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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)

3.42 | 132 ratings
The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack
1967
3.24 | 128 ratings
Ars Longa Vita Brevis
1968
3.32 | 93 ratings
Nice [Aka: Everything As Nice As Mother Makes It]
1969
2.99 | 92 ratings
Elegy
1970

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

3.48 | 107 ratings
Five Bridges Suite
1970
2.67 | 6 ratings
BBC Sessions: America
1996
3.96 | 6 ratings
The Swedish Radio Sessions
2002
4.00 | 4 ratings
BBC Sessions
2002
3.45 | 16 ratings
Keith Emerson And The Nice: Vivacitas
2003
4.00 | 14 ratings
The Nice Live at Fillmore East
2009
4.62 | 4 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)

3.86 | 18 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
5.00 | 1 ratings
In Memoriam
1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
1967 - 69
1972
3.83 | 13 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)

3.00 | 1 ratings
The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack (Single)
1967
0.00 | 0 ratings
Brandenburger
1968
3.05 | 3 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
 Nice [Aka: Everything As Nice As Mother Makes It] by NICE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
3.32 | 93 ratings

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

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars "I can't think of words to this music, no reason or rhyme to abuse it"

The group's third full-length release - simply called "Nice" - is a half studio, half live album. The studio side starts with Azrael Revisited, which is a re-make of Azrael (Angel Of Death) which was the b-side on the group's first single from a couple of years earlier. Next up is Hang On To A Dream, written by Tim Hardin. This is a very nice song with great piano work by Emerson. Sadly the vocals of Lee Jackson don't work as well. In the 1990's, Emerson re-recorded the song with Greg Lake and Carl Palmer for the ELP box set Return of the Manticore, and comparing Lee's vocals with those of Lake, the limitations of the former becomes painfully clear. Still, this tracks is definitely the highlight of Nice, with the wonderful jazzy middle-section being especially noteworthy.

The studio side continues with Diary Of An Empty Day and For Example. Both are decent songs, but the lyrics are weak. Phrases like "I can't think of words to this music, no reason or rhyme to abuse it" and "I can't think what to say, my head's a blank today" indicates that inspiration was running low in the lyrics department.

The live side holds two tracks, the first of which is a rendition of Rondo entitled "Rondo '69" to distinguish it from the studio version that already had appeared on the band's 1967 debut album. The other live track is a cover of the Bob Dylan song She Belongs To Me running more than 12 minutes. Both live tracks were recorded at The Fillmore East in New York City.

Overall, I find this album more enjoyable than the first two. But the half studio, half live nature and the heavy reliance on covers and re-makes precludes a higher rating.

 Ars Longa Vita Brevis by NICE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
3.24 | 128 ratings

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Ars Longa Vita Brevis
The Nice Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Art is long, life is short

With Davy O'List having exited the group after their first album, the trio format that Keith Emerson would later carry on so successfully with Emerson Lake & Palmer was established. The Nice's second album Ars Longa Vita Brevis is a bit incoherent with the first three songs being very much in the same Psychedelic style that had dominated the debut while the second half of the album being a group-meets-orchestra exercise that might be categorized as "Proto-Prog". Surely an adventurous thing to do, and possibly influential on other bands, but the side-long, multi-part composition lacks direction and the orchestra adds little of value to the proceedings in my opinion.

By far the most interesting, and for me the only really enjoyable, track here for me is Intermezzo from Karelia Suite. Again an adaption of a classical piece, like Rondo from the debut, this time by Finish composer Jean Sibelius. Like Rondo before it, Intermezzo pointed towards what Emerson would go on to do with ELP, and works well here.

 America (2nd Amendment) by NICE, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1968
3.05 | 3 ratings

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America (2nd Amendment)
The Nice Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars "America is pregnant with promise and anticipation"

America was adapted from West Side Story and was recorded by The Nice for a single release in 1968. This rocking rendition did not appear on any of the group's full length albums (it has however been included among the bonus tracks of CD re-issues of The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack, and on some live albums), and in my opinion is far more exciting than any of the material from their albums. I love this high energy instrumental that became one of The Nice's most well-known numbers, and the recording clearly points towards what Emerson would go on to do with ELP on Hoedown and Fanfare for the Common Man for example.

The US version of this single held an edited version of only 3:55, but the European versions were over six minutes. The b-side is The Diamond Hard Blue Apples of the Moon, another non-album track. Unlike the a-side, this one is a The Nice original written by Davison and Jackson, and featuring vocals.

 The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack by NICE, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
3.42 | 132 ratings

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The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack
The Nice Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Who was Emerlist Davjack?

The answer is that he was a collective persona of Keith Emerson, David O'List, Brian Davidson, and Lee Jackson. Emerlist Davjack's first "thoughts" were gathered together here on the debut album of The Nice, released in 1967. Today, most people, this reviewer included, probably come to this from Emerson Lake & Palmer. Being a huge fan of ELP, I simply had to find out what Emerson was up to before he teamed up with Lake and Palmer. I have actually been aware of The Nice for many years already, but never managed to get into them.

Fellow ELP fans will recognize Rondo here, an adaptation of a piece by Brubeck that Keith would bring with him into ELP and often perform live with them. This eight minutes plus track is however the only one here that points towards the future, as the rest of The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack are firmly rooted in Psychedelia and 60's Pop. If you are into that sort of thing, you may find this album a delight. But for me this album is mainly of historical interest, and not that enjoyable.

 Five Bridges Suite by NICE, THE album cover Live, 1970
3.48 | 107 ratings

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Five Bridges Suite
The Nice Symphonic Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

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 naturally flowing.

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 four solid stars.

 Diamond Hard Blue Apples Of The Moon by NICE, THE album cover Live, 2010
4.62 | 4 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
3.86 | 18 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
2.99 | 92 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
3.45 | 16 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
3.42 | 132 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.

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

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