1 in stock


The Nice – Ars Longa Vita Brevis
(Immediate Records  1968  IMSP020)
Matrix No’s: IMSLP 016A-1Y P 1 / IMSLP 016B-2Y 0 1 – UK Pressing

Vinyl in Excellent+ condition
(there are some surface marks visible on the vinyl when held up to the light but they don’t affect the sound quality apart from some light pops/crackles)

Sleeve in Very Good+ condition
 – some wear to edges/corners, 2 sticker marks on front and some ringwear

The Nice were an English progressive rock band active in the late 1960s. They blended rock, jazz and classical music and were keyboardist Keith Emerson’s first commercially successful band.

The group was formed in 1967 by Emerson, Lee Jackson, David O’List and Ian Hague to back soul singer P. P. Arnold. After replacing Hague with Brian Davison, the group set out on their own, quickly developing a strong live following. The group’s stage performances featured Emerson’s Hammond organ showmanship and abuse of the instrument, and their compositions included radical rearrangements of classical music themes and Bob Dylan songs.

The band achieved commercial success with an instrumental rearrangement of Leonard Bernstein’s “America”, following which O’List left the group. The remaining members carried on as a trio, releasing several albums, before Emerson decided to split the band in early 1970 in order to form Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The group briefly reformed in 2002 for a series of concerts.

Ars Longa Vita Brevis is the second album by the English progressive rock group The Nice.

Guitarist David O’List left the band during the recording of the album, leaving the remaining three members to complete it. After flirting briefly with replacement guitarists (including Steve Howe, later to join Yes), The Nice decided to carry on as a keyboard-led trio. The title is an aphorism attributed to Hippocrates usually rendered as “Art is long, life is short”; Keith Emerson’s interpretation of this can be gauged from his sleevenote:

Newton’s first law of motion states a body will remain at rest or continue with uniform motion in a straight line unless acted on by a force. This time the force happened to come from a European source. Ours is an extension of the original Allegro from Brandenburg Concerto No. 3. Yesterday I met someone who changed my life, today we put down a sound that made our aim accurate. Tomorrow is yesterday’s history and art will still be there, even if life terminates.

Structurally the album started where its predecessor left off- shortish songs and extended work-outs based on classical themes- but a step forward was taken with the addition of an orchestra and the extended length of Ars Longa Vita Brevis itself, forshadowing the later Five Bridges Suite. Furthermore this album contains one of the few songs in which Keith Emerson sings lead vocals: he shares the singing duties with Lee Jackson in “Daddy, Where Did I Come From” and “Happy Freuds” and sings the bridge in “Little Arabella”.

The US release of the album added “America” which was originally a single in the UK.

Track listing

All songs written by Keith Emerson and Lee Jackson, except where noted.

Side one

  1. “Daddy, Where Did I Come From” – 3:44
  2. “Little Arabella” – 4:18
  3. “Happy Freuds” – 3:25
  4. “Intermezzo from the Karelia Suite” (Sibelius) – 8:57
  5. “Don Edito el Gruva” (Emerson, Jackson, Brian Davison) – 0:13

Side two

  1. “Ars Longa Vita Brevis” – 19:20
  • “Prelude” (Emerson) / “1st Movement – Awakening” (Davison) – 5:50
  • “2nd Movement – Realisation” (Jackson, David O’List, Emerson) – 4:54
  • “3rd Movement – Acceptance “Brandenburger”” (Davison, Emerson, Jackson) – 4:23
  • “4th Movement – Denial” (Davison, Emerson, Jackson) – 3:23
  • “Coda – Extension to the Big Note” – 0:46


  • Keith Emerson – keyboards, vocals (except on “Ars Longa Vita Brevis”)
  • Lee Jackson – bass guitar, vocals
  • Brian Davison – drums
  • Malcolm Langstaff – guitar (on “2nd Movement – Realisation”)
  • Robert Stewart – orchestral arranger/conductor
  • Don Brewer – engineer/consultant
  • Gered Mankowitz – cover photograph and X-rays of The Nice.
Weight 1.00000000 kg


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