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The Nice – Five Bridges
(Charisma Records  1970  CAS1014)
Matrix No’s: A4/B4 – UK Pressing
Charisma Pink Scroll Label

Vinyl in Excellent+ condition
(there are quite a few surface marks visible on the vinyl which do give pops/crackles but sound quality is Excellent overall)

EJ Day Gatefold Sleeve in Very Good+ condition
 – wear to edges/corners (title on spine not legible), some rubbing and small tear at opening edge on back cover

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 sound was centred on Emerson’s Hammond organ showmanship and abuse of the instrument, and their 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 to form Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The group briefly reformed in 2002 for a series of concerts.

The Five Bridges Suite is a modern piece of music, written in the 1960s, combining classical music and jazz. Written about the UK city of Newcastle upon Tyne, it was released as an album by The Nice which achieved the number two position in the UK album charts. In the Q & Mojo Classic Special Edition Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock, the album came #29 in its list of “40 Cosmic Rock Albums”.


The work was commissioned for the Newcastle Arts Festival and premiered with a full orchestra conducted by Joseph Eger on 10 October 1969 (the recorded version is from 17 October in Croydon’s Fairfield Halls). The title refers to the city’s five bridges spanning the River Tyne (two more have since been built over the river), and the album cover features an image of the Tyne Bridge.

The five movements are:

  • Fantasia – orchestra with solo piano interludes by Keith Emerson
  • Second Bridge – trio without orchestra
  • Chorale – Lee Jackson’s vocals with orchestra, alternating with piano trio interludes
  • High Level Fugue – piano with accompanying cymbals
  • Finale – a restating of the Second Bridge with additional jazz horn players.

The most elaborate orchestral writing is the Fantasia, but even this is fairly rudimentary, which is understandable as it was Emerson’s first foray into this medium. Emerson credits Friedrich Gulda for inspiring the High Level Fugue, which uses jazz figures in the strict classical form. The suite was recorded at a concert performance.

Also included on the Five Bridges album were live performances from the same Fairfield Hall concert of the Sibelius Intermezzo and a movement from Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique Symphony. Both involved the orchestra playing the “straight” music juxtaposed with the trio’s interpretations. Newly discovered material from this concert was later issued as part of a 3-CD set entitled Here Come The Nice.

The Five Bridges album also included a blending of Bob Dylan’s “Country Pie” with Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 6″ (with a quote of Coleman Hawkins’ jazz line “Rifftide” as well) and a studio recording of the original “One of Those People”.

Track listing

Side one

  1. “The Five Bridges Suite” (Keith Emerson, Lee Jackson) – 18:06
  • “Fantasia 1st Bridge”
  • “2nd Bridge”
  • “Chorale 3rd Bridge”
  • “High Level Fugue 4th Bridge”
  • “Finale 5th Bridge”

Side two

  1. “Intermezzo ‘Karelia Suite'” (Sibelius) – 9:01
  2. “Pathetique (Symphony No. 6, 3rd Movement)” (Tchaikovsky, Arr. Emerson, Joseph Eger) – 9:23
  3. “Country Pie/Brandenburg Concerto No. 6” (Bob Dylan, Johann Sebastian Bach) – 5:40
  4. “One Of Those People” (Emerson, Jackson) – 3:08


  • Brian Davison – drums, percussion
  • Keith Emerson – organ
  • Lee Jackson – vocals, bass guitar


  • Joe Harriott – saxophone
  • Peter King – saxophone
  • Chris Pyne – trombone
  • Alan Skidmore – saxophone
  • John Warren
  • Kenny Wheeler – trumpet, flugelhorn
Weight 1.00000000 kg


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