The Nice – Ars Longa Vita Brevis (1968)

Artist Credit
Don Brewer Consultant, Engineer
Mike Brown Remastering
Mick Carpenter Project Coordinator
Robert M. Corich Liner Notes, Remastering, Research
Brian Davison Composer, Drums
Keith Emerson Composer, Keyboards, Piano, Vocals
Hugh Gilmour Art Direction, Design
Lee Jackson Bass, Composer, Guitar, Vocals
Gered Mankowitz Cover Photo, Photography
The Nice Primary Artist
Davy O’List Guitar, Vocals
Jean Sibelius Composer
Robert Stewart Arranger, Conductor, Orchestra Assembly

The Nice’s second album, and their first as a trio, was a genuinely groundbreaking effort, and now it sounds the way it was always supposed to. The 1998 Castle Communications reissue (ESM 646), part of its Essential Masters series, puts even the version in the 1995 Charly box to shame — that was clean and clear, where this is bright, with a much more solid high end and richer bass as well. The energy of the band’s playing comes through, along with enough detail to allow you to hear the action on the keyboards in some instances. This is not only the first Nice album to sound as good as the ELP remasters of a couple of years ago, but to match the best of the latter for substance. The “bonus tracks” are merely the monaural single masters of “Daddy, Where Did I Come From” and “Happy Freuds,” when ideally “America” would have been on this CD where it belongs (and where it was, on the American version of the original LP).

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