[Review] Vincenzo Ricca’s The Rome Pro(g)ject – IV Beaten Paths Different Ways

The Rome Pro(g)ject is the project conceived and developed by Vincenzo Ricca, Italian composer and keyboardist born in Cosenza in 1962, through whom he proposes a well-made Symphonic Progressive Rock. Since 2012 he has published four chapters in which numerous guests of the Prog scene, both from the 70s and modern, have participated. The artists involved are certainly an added value not only for the thickness of the names but especially for the technique expressed and the contribution offered. While the first 3 chapters are entirely instrumental, in this fourth album entitled “IV Beaten Paths Different Ways” we find singed and narrated tracks. Containing 13 medium length tracks, divided into ‘unreleased‘ and ‘rearranged and vocal‘ tracks, it was released on December 7, 2020 and is available on CD and Digital. So here are all the artists who contributed to the three predecessors, for the first time gathered in a single album, which is thus embellished with the unmistakable sounds of Steve Hackett‘s electric guitars, the narrative voice of his wife, Jo Lehmann, the magical flute of his brother John Hackett, the piano romance of the first keyboardist of the Hackett Band, Nick Magnus, and then the unmistakable narrator of Francesco Di Giacomo (Banco), of Richard Sinclair‘s more than unique fretless bass (Caravan, Camel, Hatfield and the North), of the phantasmagoric winds of David Jackson (Van Der Graaf Generator), of the ‘Squire-style’ bass and more, by Billy Sherwood (YES, Circa), by David Cross‘s fantastic electric violin (King Crimson). Alongside these giants of Progressive Rock another excellent presence, Bernardo Lanzetti (PFM, Acqua Fragile).
Alongside these Prog Rock greats, the best promises, now kept, of Neo Progressive: Franck Carducci, Jerry Cutillo (OAK), Daniele Pomo (RaneStrane), Riccardo Romano (RaneStrane), Roberto Vitelli (Ellesmere, Taproban), Mauro Montobbio (Narrow Pass), and again Paolo Ricca, Giorgio Clementelli, Lorenzo Feliciati, Danilo Chiarella and Maurizio Mirabelli. A quality album, we specify that it is not a simple compilation or collection of songs but rather a reasoned journey, which immediately leaves its mark with the first three unreleased. Just under a quarter of an hour in which the artist and his guests hit the mark with a Symphonic Progressive, solid and with clear references to the 70s but with a modern and original touch. The keyboards are always at the center of the project, intertwining beautifully and communicating better with the guitar, on a solid and supporting rhythm session. The other 10 songs chosen and rearranged for the album guide us on this journey within the repertoire of Vincenzo and his Rome Pro(g)jet thanks also to these new versions embellished by the hand of Steve Hackett. This rewriting makes the tracks unique and therefore a pleasant re-discovery for those who already follow the artist and have listened to the first 3 releases. For those unfamiliar with this interesting Italian project of Progressive Rock music, it could be a good starting point to start discovering and appreciating Vincenzo‘s compositions. As well as a path in the history of Rome and among the artist’s productions, we can say that it is a journey into Prog music, as there are artists from various eras, all linked by the same musical genre but played with different styles and techniques. The compositional and executive technique of all the artists involved blends together and the result is an album of exquisite workmanship, engaging from start to finish and full of quality ideas with interesting phrasing between keyboards and guitar. The singing was a fitting addition, thanks also to the vocal skills of the artists involved offering a warm and engaging rehearsal. A listening recommended to all lovers of the Symphonic sounds of the Progressive, mixing modern and past sounds with ease and a first level technique with the participation of some of the best artists of the world music scene. A pity that the tour scheduled for 2020 due to the pandemic could not take place, it will still be very interesting to listen to Vincenzo Ricca and his band live. I am also convinced that for those who approached listening to this project for the first time, they will be pleasantly impressed and will go into listening to the previous chapters.

Tracklist

– Part I – The Unreleased Tracks:
01.All Roads Lead to Rome (3:49)
02. Beaten Paths (5:13)
03.Vertical Illusion (4:40)
– Part II – The Rearranged and Vocal Tracks:
04. April 21st, 753 B.C. (6:49)
05.Caracalla’s Dream(4:27)
06.Reflections(5:35)
07.A Mankind Heritage(4:15)
08.Of Fate and Glory (6:22)
09.S.P.Q.R. (4:48)
10.The Oracle (4:05)
11.476 A.C. (Song for Wetton) (5:39)
12.Invictus (5:12)
13.Proemium (Symphonic Version) (2:16)

Lineup

Vincenzo Ricca / Keyboards, Vocals, Bass

And:
Steve Hackett / Electric Guitars
Nick Magnus / Piano, Keyboards
David Jackson / Saxophone & Flute
John Hackett / Flute
David Cross / Electric Violin
Bernardo Lanzetti / Vocals
Richard Sinclair / Vocals, Fretless Bass
Billy Sherwood / Bass, Drums

With:
Franck Carducci / 12-String Guitar & Bass
Paolo Ricca / Electric Guitar
Roberto Vitelli / Bass, Moog Taurus Pedals
Daniele Pomo / Drums
Jerry Cutillo / Flute
Giorgio Clemetelli / Acoustic Guitar
Mauro Montobbio / Electric & Classic Guitars
Luca Grosso / Drums
Lorenzo Feliciati / Bass
Riccardo Romano / Piano
Danilo Chiarella / Bass
Maurizio Mirabelli / Drums

Special Guests:
Joanna “Jo” Lehmann Hackett / Vocals
Francesco Di Giacomo / Vocals

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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