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RICCA/HACKETT/MAGNUS/CROSS/ETC - ROME PRO(G)JECT IV-BEATEN PATHS DIFFERENT WAYS

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NEW & Newly Re-Arranged tracks played by the original ALL-STAR cast – A set list for gigs that never happened…and the album that would have followed!

About The Rome Pro(G)ject …
The ‘Rome Pro(G)ject’ is an exciting instrumental trilogy of albums by an un-comparable "open band" that, in five years, has been affirmed as one of the most interesting and significant examples of keyboards driven (mainly classic Mellotron) Progressive Rock on the Planet!
Since the arrival of the original ‘Rome Pro(G)ject’ album in late 2012, and the two volumes that followed, this series of releases have been a massive success, and a real hit with CDS Towers' Prog customers. The first became our number one Prog album for the first quarter of 2013, continuing to sell regularly throughout the rest of that year, into 2014 and beyond. Then the second and third repeated the process throughout 2016 to 2019 and still it goes on!

Conceived, produced by arranger/keyboardist Vincenzo Ricca, the Rome Pro(G)ject is an instrumental Symphonic Prog concept that really hits the nail right on the head if you are into the style of guitar / keyboards (Mellotron choirs, strings, brass etc.) driven, grandiose, classy instrumental Prog from the same league as GENESIS, Steve Hackett and PFM. If you like any or all of the following things – the ‘Rome Pro(G)ject’ music is essential…
Instrumental GENESIS - think ‘Firth Of Fifth’, ‘Los Endos’, ‘Entangled’, ‘Hairless Heart’, ‘The Lamia’ etc.!
Any of Nick Magnus’ symphonic keyboard epics! Symphonic PFM at their best!
Steve Hackett’s solo album instrumental epics like: ‘Voyage Of The Acolyte’ or ‘Spectral Mornings’!

About ‘TRP IV - Beaten Paths Different Ways’ …
In 2017 ‘TRP III - Exegi Monumentum Aere Perennivs’ was indicated as the "possible" last album by ‘The Rome Pro(G)ject’ and the end of an exciting trilogy. That "possible", however, has never completely convinced the creator of the Pro(G)ject - Vincenzo Ricca who, on the contrary, right after the release of the 3rd album, decided to put a band together for a tour which should have been followed by the release of a ‘live’ album entitled: ‘Miliarvm Avrevm’. Due to "Covid-19", the tour did not happen! However, Ricca did not lose heart and pulled another invention out of his magic hat - an album celebrating ten years of ‘The Rome Pro (G)ject’ containg NEW material and RE-WORKS!
And so, once again under the independent flag of "TRP Records", the creator, composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer of the Pro(G)ject, releases: ‘IV - Beaten Paths Different Ways’, a 13- track album in three parts: an unpublished, rearranged set – and hence, the title of the 4th chapter of the ‘TRP’ saga.

Starting from the cover-art of the new album, designed by Vincenzo Ricca's wife, Maria Grazia, which is something different from previous ‘TRP’ artworks. This one is inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’.

On ‘Rome Pro(G)ject IV-Beaten Paths Different Ways’ we find all the artists who contributed to the first three albums, for the first time gathered together on a single album.
Ricca’s music is embellished with the unmistakable sounds of Steve Hackett's electric guitars, the narrating voice of his wife, Jo Lehmann, the magical flute of his brother, John Hackett, the piano and keyboards romanticism of the first keyboardist of the Hackett Band: Nick Magnus. Then there’s the unmistakable narration of the late Francesco di Giacomo (BANCO), the more than unique fretless bass sound of Richard Sinclair (CARAVAN, CAMEL, HATFIELD & THE NORTH), the phantasmagoric winds of David Jackson (VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR), plus the bass "a la Squire" and more of Billy Sherwood (YES / CIRCA) and the fantastic electric violin of David Cross (KING CRIMSON). Alongside these giants of Progressive rock is another excellent presence: Bernardo Lanzetti (PFM / ACQUA FRAGILE).
With the best promises now kept, we bring in some protagonists of the new progressive scene: Franck Carducci, Jerry Cutillo (OAK), Daniele Pomo and Riccardo Romano (RANESTRANE), Roberto Vitelli (ELLESMERE, TAPROBAN), Mauro Montobbio (NARROW PASS), Paolo Ricca, Giorgio Clementelli, Lorenzo Feliciati, Danilo Chiarella and Maurizio Mirabelli.

Although Vincenzo Ricca's "romantic prog" has so far been proposed and distinguished with three albums all consisting of exclusively instrumental pieces, this time five tracks are songs. The baptism of this new phase takes place with the track performed by Bernardo Lanzetti - his legendary voice represents the real surprise in the collective of masters of Progressive Rock that has always revolved around this project.

In just over an hour of music there are 13 Tracks – 3 Unreleased Pieces, 4 New Versions of existing TRP tracks with vocals, and the remaining 6 Reworks where the contributions of the great artists of this fantastic project are made even more effective.

The album opens with: ‘All Roads Lead To Rome’ a brilliant Unreleased Instrumental in which we find the solo electric guitar of Steve Hackett (co-author of the track), alongside the overbearing drums of Daniele Pomo, the aggressive bass of Roberto Vitelli and of course Vincenzo Ricca with his arsenal of vintage keyboards such as Mellotron, Minimoog, Hammond organ on a high. With its just under four minutes of phrasing and pyrotechnic counter-times, it’s a very worthy opening for the album.

In addition to determining half the title of the album, ‘Beaten Paths’ is therefore the first vocal track to appear in a ‘Rome Pro(G)ject’ album.
Composed by Vincenzo Ricca, the music was initially inspired by a BLACKFIELD song, and then evolved considerably with the decisive contribution of co-author Bernardo Lanzetti. As a Prog ballad, the track is suspended between the endings of the ‘live’ version of ‘Afterglow’ by GENESIS and ‘Impressioni di Settembre’ by PFM. This is a very personal piece in which the keyboards style of Vincenzo Ricca is easily identifiable, counterpointed by a masterful interpretation by Lanzetti singing the part of a Roman emperor reflecting on the magnitude of his conquests and on how much there is still to be achieved. …
All sound great to me!

The last of the unreleased tracks is: ‘Vertical Illusion’, an instrumental composed by Ricca almost thirty years ago, and recovered to a Prog connotation with the compositional help of Steve Hackett and Paolo Ricca, with the addition sound of the twelve-string guitar by Roberto Vitelli. With its slow pace, ‘Vertical Illusion’ appears an anomalous title compared to the previous production - a dreamy moment in which there is no lack of deliberated recalls and references from Ricca who, as is his habit, inserts here and there some phrasing familiar to fans of the best of British Prog.

From here on, Ricca pays tribute to the glorious past of his project - in fact, exactly ten years after the birth of the idea of this "Progressive laboratory", he revisits himself and his collective by retrieving, Modifying and Remixing four songs from: ‘The Rome Pro(G)ject I’, conceived in 2009, started 2010 and released in 2012 with the kilometric title: ‘A Musical Walk Through The History & The Places, The Greatness & The Beauty Of Te Eternal City’.

The best way to celebrate ten years of ‘TRP’ is having on board all the musicians who have contributed to make it all possible at the same with songs in which each of them retains their own space or even acquires more in the revisiting process. Some of these pieces, all originally instrumental, now take a completely different shape!

Hence, we start with a new version – much longer, read back and played back - of ‘April 21st, 753 bC’, the opening track to ‘TRP I’ and the beginning of everything. Written by Vincenzo and Paolo Ricca, the piece employs the skills of the two composers, respectively on the keyboards and the electric guitar, alongside the unforgettable voice of the now late Francesco Di Giacomo, that with his inimitable “ars poetica” declaims the initial lines of Titus Livius’ “Ab urbe condita”.

This is followed by: ‘Caracalla's Dream’, a track composed by Richard Sinclair with Vincenzo Ricca and inspired by the "eclectic visions" of the Roman emperor. Sinclair’s fretless bass has been completely revised compared to the original, and the whole piece, in general, now enjoys a greater sonic balance between Ricca’s keyboards, Jerry Cutillo’s protagonist flute, Giorgio Clementelli’s arpeggiated guitar and Luca Grosso’s rhythms.

‘Reflections’ is the new title for the completely revised version of the piece: ‘Towards The Future’ from ‘TRP I’. The instrumental by Vincenzo Ricca and John Hackett, now acquires another dimension with the addition of the new guitars played admirably by Mauro Montobbio and now with a vocal part performed by Vincenzo Ricca, who makes his debut as a vocalist on this track. The text - in English - is an introspection between dreams and psyche, once proposed by the authors to Steve Hackett. The rhythm section is supported by the musicians that contributed to the original track on ‘TRP I’ - the precise bass of Danilo Chiarella's and Maurizio Mirabelli's vintage drums.

The tribute to ‘TRP I’ comes to an end with: ‘A Mankind Heritage’, a piece written by Ricca with David Jackson. Remotely inspired by: ‘Twilight Alehouse’, a song that GENESIS excluded from their ‘Foxtrot’ album, and to tell the truth, once again the shadows of the original inspiration are few, as David Jackson's phantasmagoric winds explode here and there in a personal, unpredictable way, interacting with the increasingly monumental chords of Ricca's keyboards arsenal and the syncopated drum hits of Luca Grosso.

In strict chronological order, we get to: ‘TRP II – Of Fate And Glory’, attributed by its title-track and ‘S.P.Q.R’.

The absolute protagonist of both pieces is Steve Hackett, first with the e-bow guitar and then with his electric lead guitar. His wife Jo - co-author of the first of the two songs - contributes the guiding voice.
‘Of Fate And Glory’ - now in its 3rd version (if your also counting ‘Of Fate And Glory 2020’ released during the lockdown) with a suggestive video set in a surreal and deserted Rome. Sung by Vincenzo Ricca who this time is relating his own lyrics in English and Italian, the song tells the tale of a decisive ambush, with initially suspended and then more decisive atmospheres. The rhythm section is entrusted to the drums of Daniele Pomo and the bass of Lorenzo Feliciati and Vincenzo Ricca - the latter also being the author - together with Riccardo Romano with discreet but well-chosen piano inlays.
The keyboards evoke soundscapes and Prog arpeggios that support Steve Hackett in a performance that owes much to: ‘Hairless Heart’ from ‘The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’ album by GENESIS.

‘S.P.Q.R.’ was originally longer than this new rendition, with a classical guitar interlude by Steve Hackett. Having left out this acoustic dreamy part, the track is now a more concise instrumental with an even more incisive force. Supported by the sensational rhythm section of Billy Sherwood (of YES) who admirably plays a sumptuous "a la Squire" bass and also the drums. Ricca's keyboards are surmountable, bordering on an "over-the-top” production, but, speaking of ancient Rome’s greatness, how could you imagine anything less for such a piece of Symphonic Prog music.

The disc closes with four updated pieces from 2017’s: ‘TRP III’ – ‘Exegi Monumentum Aere Perennius’ .

The tracks: ‘The Oracle’ and ‘476 b. C. {Song For Wetton}’ are composed by Ricca with David Cross, and distorted from the originals. Pomo and Vitelli give life to a solid rhythm section in both.

The first of the two, which on ‘TRP III’ was called: ‘Aere Perennivs IV’, is now a track sung by Vincenzo Ricca himself, while the lyrics are by his wife: Maria Grazia, with additional words from the poem: ‘Exegi Monvmentvm Aere Perennivs’ by Quintus Flaccus Horatius. Ricca deals with lyrics in English, Latin and Italian! At the climax of the crescendo in 9/8 comes the exciting closing section in which Cross's electric violin stands out as it grapples with distorted pyrotechnics on an hypnotic rhythm that leads into a sensationally glorious finale.

‘476 b.C. {Song For Wetton}’ when compared to the original version, is entirely played solo by David Cross on his electric violin, and it stands out on a constant carpet of Mellotron, with the initial chords mentioning Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Purple Haze’. A touching song with a beautiful melody, it is dedicated to the end of the Western Roman Empire. Inspired by the Crimsonian piece: ‘Starless’, it is intended as a tribute to John Wetton, who passed away at the time the song was composed.

Originally from TRP's 3rd album ‘Invictvs’ was once called: ‘Once Were Romans’. Today, with a different title and an even more compelling arrangement, the newly added vocal is sung by Vincenzo Ricca using the eponymous lyrics of English poet: William Ernest Henley. Another piece of clear "Crimsonian" inspiration finds winds maestro David Jackson - co-author of the track - alternating between all types of sax and flutes that includes uncommon forays into Ian Anderson's "Tullian" area. A very technical piece with changing metrics, it is made even more aggressive by the rhythm section in which Daniele Pomo's powerful drumming stands out, assisted by Vincenzo Ricca's full-bodied bass. Again, majestic and vibrant keyboard layers support this powerful piece of music.

‘Proemivm’, a track originally the opening piece on ‘TRP III’, is, despite the title, found at the end of this album “with a note of pathos” as suggested to Ricca by Nick Magnus, the sole composer and performer of this beautiful piano piece. This time the sensitive and cultured artist’s poignant piano plot has become a vast symphonic gem with the addition of choirs and orchestra, all masterfully reproduced by Magnus himself.

‘ROME PRO(G)JECT IV - BEATEN PATHS DIFFERENT WAYS’ is released on 7th December 2020.

Also available by ROME PRO(G)JECT…
ROME PRO(G)JECT I (Full 2012 55-Minute Digi-Pak Edition / 10 Tracks) CD – Stock # 1582172
ROME PRO(G)JECT II-OF FATE & GLORY (2016 Digi-Pak / 10 Tracks) CD – Stock # 1858799
ROME PRO(G)JECT III-RAISED MOMENTUM (2017 Digi-Pak / 13 Tracks) CD – Stock # 2016375


V/A: ROME PRO(G)JECT IV - BEATEN PATHS DIFFERENT WAYS Track List:
[plus details of the guest performers on each]

Part I [The Unreleased Recordings]:
01. All Roads Lead To Rome [Vincenzo Ricca / ft. Steve Hackett] (3:34)
02. Beaten Paths [Vincenzo Ricca / ft. Bernardo Lanzetti] (5:13)
03. Veritcal Illusion [Vincenzo Ricca / ft. Steve Hackett & Paolo Ricca] (4:40)
Part II [The Rearranged & Vocal Tracks]:
04. April 21st, 753 b.C. [Vincenzo Ricca / ft. Paolo Ricca] (6:49)
05. Caracalla’s Dream [Vincenzo Ricca / ft. Richard Sinclair] (4:27)
06. Reflections [Vincenzo Ricca / ft. John Hackett] (5:35)
07. A Mankind Heritage [Vincenzo Ricca / ft. David Jackson] (4:15)
08. Of Fate And Glory [Vincenzo Ricca / ft. Steve Hackett & Jo Lehmann Hackett] (6:22)
09. S.P.Q.R. [Vincenzo Ricca / ft. Steve Hackett] (4:48)
10. The Oracle [Vincenzo Ricca / ft. David Cross] (4:05)
11. 476 a.C. {Song For Wetton} [Vincenzo Ricca / ft. David Cross] (5:39)
12. Invictus [Vincenzo Ricca / ft. David Jackson] (5:12)
13. Proemium {Symphonic Version} [Nick Magnus] (2:16)

TPT – 62:55