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The Nice – Nice
(Immediate Records  1969  IMSP026)
Matrix No’s: 1Y2/2Y2 – UK Pressing

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

Gatefold Sleeve in Very Good condition
 – wear to edges/corners (title not legible on spine), sticker marks top right & some general rubbing

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”.

Nice was the third album by the Nice; it was titled Everything As Nice As Mother Makes It in the US after Immediate’s distribution changed from Columbia to Capitol. Nice had been initially released in the US with a slightly longer version of Rondo 69 not available on the UK or on the Capitol distributed US versions. The first US version of Nice was briefly reissued in 1973 by Columbia Special Products.

Continuing the Nice’s fusion of jazz, blues, and rock, this album consists of studio (1–4) and live (5–6) tracks, the latter having become firm favourites in the band’s live performances.

The album reached number 3 in the UK Album charts.

Track listing

Side one

  1. “Azrael Revisited” (Keith Emerson, Lee Jackson) – 5:52
  2. “Hang on to a Dream” (Tim Hardin) – 4:46
  3. “Diary of an Empty Day” (Music: Edouard Lalo[5] arr. by Emerson, lyrics: Jackson) – 3:54
  4. “For Example” (Emerson, Jackson) – 8:51

Side two

  1. “Rondo ’69′” (Brubeck, Emerson, Jackson, Davison) – 7:53 (8:27 on the first US version)
  2. “She Belongs to Me” (Bob Dylan) – 12:15


The Nice
  • Keith Emerson – Hammond organ, pianos
  • Lee Jackson – bass guitar, vocals
  • Brian Davison – drums, percussion
Weight 1.00000000 kg


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