Blinky Davison Dies

Brian "Blinky" Davison, the former keyboard player for The Nice, died April 15 at his home in Horn’s Cross, Devon.

Davison, 65, joined The Nice in 1967 and played on all the band’s albums, including The Thoughts Of EmerlistDavJack (1967), Ars Longa, Vita Brevis (1968), Five Bridges (1970) and Elegy (1971).

The group was signed by Andrew Oldham to Immediate Records and was scheduled to support soul singer P.P. Arnold. However, The Nice soon parted company from Arnold as they began to experiment with extended arrangements.

His nickname came from his days in the Mark Leeman Five, who were so impressed by the left-hand independence of his playing that they compared him to Art Blakey "on the blink."

Heavy touring caused tension among the band, and Davison began to drink, resulting in the breakdown of his marriage. For some time he was out of the music world but received counseling and recovered from a period of alcoholism, vowing never to drink again.

Life improved greatly when he moved from London to north Devon with his partner Teri West. He began teaching percussion at Bideford College and also played regularly in a local blues band.

In April 2002 the three members of The Nice – Keith Emerson, Davison and Lee Jackson – performed at a reception at the 100 Club in London, their first performance together in 32 years. It led to a full U.K. tour.

Although Davison suffered ill health in recent years, he and Teri celebrated his 60th birthday at his cottage by the sea in 2002 with a party that reunited old friends, including Jackson and Emerson, who left The Nice in 1970 to join Emerson, Lake & Palmer.