830 291-1 M-1 Five Bridges
Produced by The Nice
Released on June 1970
Find it at GEMM
830 291-1 M-1 cover
[high resolution scan]

B efore Karn Evil 9’s dark and intricate designs were unveiled, there was The Five Bridges Suite. The BRIDGE is that between classical and rock music, still under construction when Five Bridges was recorded. Keith Emerson had done a good job of advancing the idea that rock and classical had common elements, could coexist, blossom even (in the windmills of your mind). Yet while US audiences tend to view The Nice as prE-LP, precursors only to the great triune, The Nice were already a phenomenon in England, and Five Bridges hardly went unnoticed. The band clearly has their own mythology, albeit an abbreviated one that officially ends here (Elegy is afterwards). In such a context, Five Bridges is a modest tower of achievement. “The Five Bridges Suite” could be seen as a harbinger of ELP’s classical epics (e.g., Pictures at an Exhibition). And the insidious “One of Those People” would find willing re-perpetrators in “Jeremy Bender” and “Nobody Loves You Like I Do.” So, to knock Five Bridges is to attack The Nice, which was the foundation for ELP, who in turn were a cornerstone of the great progressive pyramid. Lee Jackson doesn’t have a particularly strong voice, and Brian Davison isn’t a pyrotechnic percussionist like Palmer; still, Five Bridges affords a pleasing view of progressive heights. Like the music of Flash, it’s not timeless music, but within the never-narrow genre of prog you could do far worse. The marriage of classical and rock is here an arranged one, coolly and not comfortably intertwined. The suite sounds at first like classical, then rock, rarely both at the same time. Yet progress isn’t pretty; it arrives raw and bloody under cover of asphalt and architecture. The birthing of this bridge, in public or otherwise, is a cause for some joy as it expands our world by one more mindful citizen. And oh yes as a matter of by the way, this is mostly a live album. Thought you’d like to know.

830 291-1 M-1 back cover
830 291-1 M-1 back cover


  1. THE FIVE BRIDGES SUITE    (Composed and scored by Keith Emerson/words by Lee Jackson)
      Fantasia-1st Bridge    6:08
      2nd Bridge    3:59
      Chorale-3rd Bridge    3:30
      High Level Fugue-4th Bridge    1:02
      Finale-5th Bridge    3:34
  2. INTERMEZZO "KARELIA SUITE"    (Jean Sibelius, arr. for orchestra by Keith Emerson/Jospeh Eger)    9:00
  3. "PATHETIQUE" SYMPHONY NO. 6 3rd MOVEMENT    (P.I. Tchaikovsky, arr. for orchestra by Keith Emerson/Jospeh Eger)    9:27
  4. COUNTRY PIE/BRANDENBURG CONCERTO NO. 6    (Bob Dylan/J.S. Bach)    5:40
  5. ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE    (music: Keith Emerson/words: Lee Jackson)    3:08


KEITH EMERSON -- organ, piano
LEE JACKSON -- bass guitar, vocals
Joseph Eger -- conductor
Sinfonia of London -- orchestra
Bob Auger -- engineer
Eddie Kramer -- engineer, mixing engineer
Malcolm Toft -- engineer, mixing engineer
Hipgnosis -- cover

return to THE NICE discography

UK June 1970 Charisma LP CAS 1014 gatefold cover
US 1970 Mercury LP/8T SR/MC8-61295 gatefold cover
FRA 1970 Philips LP 6459.001 gatefold cover
GER 1970 Philips LP 6303 004 gatefold cover
UK   Virgin CD CASCD 1014  
EUR   Virgin CDX 787384 w. bonus tracks


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