The Nice was a progressive rock band that emerged in the late 1960s and was known for its innovative blend of classical music and rock elements. The band's lineup included keyboardist Keith Emerson, bassist Lee Jackson, guitarist David O'List, and drummer Brian Davison. Here's a brief overview of the history and music of The Nice:
Formation and Early Years (1967-1968):
The Nice was formed in 1967 in London. Keith Emerson, previously a member of the band The VIPs, joined forces with Lee Jackson, David O'List, and Brian Davison to create a distinctive sound that combined rock, jazz, and classical music.
Debut Album - "The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack" (1968):
In 1968, The Nice released their debut album, "The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack." The album showcased the band's eclectic style, featuring both original compositions and unique interpretations of classical pieces. The track "Rondo" incorporated themes from Dave Brubeck's "Blue Rondo à la Turk" and became one of the band's signature pieces.
Innovative Live Performances:
The Nice gained a reputation for their dynamic and theatrical live performances. Keith Emerson's stage presence was particularly noteworthy, as he often incorporated classical flourishes, including the use of a grand piano and the iconic Hammond organ. The band's ability to fuse rock and classical elements set them apart in the progressive rock scene.
Following their debut, The Nice released several albums, including "Ars Longa Vita Brevis" (1968) and "Nice" (1969). These albums continued to showcase the band's adventurous musical approach, with compositions that ranged from rock and blues to more experimental and avant-garde pieces.
Lineup Changes and Disbandment:
David O'List left the band in 1968, and he was replaced by guitarist/vocalist Steve Howe. However, internal conflicts and creative differences eventually led to The Nice disbanding in 1970. Keith Emerson went on to form Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP), one of the most successful and influential progressive rock bands of the 1970s.
While The Nice had a relatively short career, their impact on the progressive rock genre was significant. They helped pave the way for other bands that explored the fusion of classical and rock music. The innovative use of keyboards, especially the Hammond organ, by Keith Emerson became a hallmark of progressive rock.
In summary, The Nice was a pioneering band in the progressive rock movement, known for their groundbreaking musical approach and memorable live performances. Their influence can still be heard in the work of many progressive and art rock musicians.