What do you get if you take The Nice and replace Keith Emerson for Patrick Moraz?
The answer is simple Refugee, an excellent Symphonic Prog band less pompous but IMHO with a technically better keyboardist.
The previous story is well known, Keith Emerson, the heart and sould of The Nice left the band to form the first Prog supergroup ELP, so in that instant The Nice ceased to exist. They managed to survive until 1973 with to inferior releases “Elegy” and “Autumn from Spring” which mainly consist of older material and reworks of older tracks including a ghost keyboardist who was already playing in another band.
But Lee Jackson and Brian Davidson wanted to revive the band, so they searched for another keyboardist who could replace Keith…and they found him. The Swiss born virtuoso Patrick Moraz left MAINHORSE so they recruited him and the result was incredibly solid.
Forget about the overblown keyboard sections of their early and the horrendous voice of Jackson (Who rarely sings), just listen Patrick performance,. The band was never more mature, knowing what they wanted to achieve and what they had to do. They replaced the pyrotechnical excesses of Keith Emerson with the sober style of Patrick.
In 1974 they released their self titled debut and farewell album, a real gem, solid from start to end, instead of the hard aggressive Post Romantic and Modern Classical sound provided by Emerson, this album has a more versatile sound oriented towards the Baroque and Classic era.