Band: Various Artists
Band Website: www.vincenzoricca.it
Label: Independent Release
Release Date: 2012
Now this is an interesting project. The website for The Rome Pro(G)ject says this is a “musical walk through the history and the places, the greatness and the beauty of the Eternal City,” that of course being Rome. The brain child of this musical adventure is keyboardist and producer Vincenzo Ricca and he’s assembled quite a cast of musicians to bring his musical concept to fruition. The large ensemble includes not only Ricca’s keyboards but also: Francesco Di Giacomo [Banco del Mutuo Soccorso] (narration), Paolo Ricca (electric guitar), Franck Carducci (electric bass, 12-string guitar), Luca Grosso (drums), David Cross [King Crimson] (electric and acoustic violin), Mauro Montobbio [Narrow Pass] (electric, acoustic and classical guitars, keyboards), Elisa Montaldo [Il Tempio delle Clessidre] (grand piano), Fabio Gremo [Il Tempio delle Clessidre] (electric bass), Paolo Tixi [Il Tempio delle Clessidre] (drums), John Hackett [Steve Hackett Band] (flute), Nick Magnus [Steve Hackett Band] (keyboards, virtual instruments), Steve Hackett [Genesis (electric guitar), Danilo Chiarella (electric and fretless bass), Maurizio Mirabelli (drums), Richard Sinclair [Caravan, Camel] (fretless bass), Jerry Cutillo (flute), Giorgio Clementelli (acoustic guitar) and last but not least, David Jackson [Van der Graaf Generator] (saxes, flutes and whistles). Now normally I would take up the space to identify the complete list of contributors but in this case it seemed a shame to leave anyone out.
As for the music of The Rome Pro(G)ject, this is unabashedly Italian flavoured symphonic progressive rock with more than a nod to its British origins. There are ten tracks including one bonus track with a running time of 55-minutes. As you might expect it’s a mixture of shorter pieces with just a couple longer ones. Italian Prog has never been about length instead it’s about structure and arrangements and here the symphonic aspect of the music is on full display. After a short spoken-word introduction, in Italian of course, we move on to “April 21st, 753 BC” [6:12] which takes a musical riff and over the first three minutes builds in intensity before another brief narration while the music becomes softer with a blues overtone before launching into an odd-tempo section that builds to a big finish. It’s just what you would expect. The tunes are laced with violin, flutes, string sounds (Mellotron and other) and plenty of guitar and keyboard interplay all weaving hypnotic melodies and changing time and tempos in an attempt to transport the listener into the essence of Rome.
This is a marvelous piece of symphonic prog featuring everything we love about the genre from odd-time signatures to lush orchestrations. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend highly The Rome Pro(G)ject to fans of the genre.