is a force spanning over twenty years of D.I.Y. music production, performance, and curation. He is heavily involved in stretching past the confines of standard music forms performing his original compositions and improvisations in a wide variety of musical settings. He is also focused in presenting and supporting the local experimental and avant-garde community at large with his grass-root philanthropic vision for total artistic self expression and freedom from generic branding.
From his very beginnings as a student of Jazz while being exposed to the twilight tutelage of Stan Getz and the young vibrant jazz theory of Bruce Foreman he found himself drawn to the outer realms of music. In 1986 he founded the progressive jazz sextet Jazz On the Line that served as a vehicle for his original compositions until 1994. Romus produced his first album Dark Wind in 1988 (which also served as the first album for then thirteen year old drummer Steve Rossi), and his second recording entitled no boundaries in 1990. In 1992 he recorded and produced In the Moment, reissued in 2008 as Thundershine with Chico Freeman.
In 1995 he formed the collective entity The Lords of Outland with whom two years later he recorded Adapt...or DIE! with The Lords, which featured tenor sax master John Tchicai a contemporary of John Coltrane and Albert Ayler. During the mid to late nineties the Lords featured James Zitro, Kash Killion, Andrew Borger, Jason Olaine, Jon Birdsong, Dave Mihaly, Bill Noertker, and Toyoji Tomita to name a few.
In 1995 and 96 Romus self-produced two overseas tours of Denmark which featured some of Copenhagen’s young improvisers pianist Jonas Müller , and drummer Stefan Pasborg who now enjoys world wide recognition as one of the top young jazz drummers of Europe. In 1999 Romus released Blood Motions with Pasborg and bassist Jonas Westergaard.
In 2001 Romus released four CDs; Avatar In the Field, PKD Vortex, The Metal Quan Yin, and Guinea Pig Live at the Hotel Utah that reflected his love for interweaving science fiction, horror literature, improvisation, Finno-Ugric traditions, socio-political themes, and the inspiration of Albert Ayler in his music.
In 2003 he along side guitarist Ernesto Diaz-Infante created The Abstractions, who released three recordings during their time together that included an all star cast of experimental musicians and singers from California including Jesse Quattro, Scott R Looney, Bob Marsh, and Philip Everett.
In 2005 he continued his free improvisational experimentation with the creation of Bloom Project with perpetual touring master pianist Thollem Mcdonas releasing the self titled Bloom in 2006, Prismatic Season in 2007 and Sudden Aurora in 2009. In addition to his ongoing adventures with Bloom Project his group The Lords of Outland found a new sonic base mixing harsh noise and jazz improvisation releasing Culture of Pain in 2006 and most recently in 2008; You can sleep when you’re dead! The core group consists of drummer Philip Everett, bassist Ray Schaeffer, and noise pedal artist C.J Borosque.
As a producer and artist business activist Rent Romus founded Edgetone Records a label for all forms of music improvisation and experimentation in 1991. During his early years from 1988 - 1998 as a concert producer he was appointed Executive Director of Jazz in Flight in 1996. From 2002-04 he was the Director of Promotion for the SFAlt Festival, and at the turn of the new century in 2000 he founded Outsound Presents under which he is the Executive Director and a curator of The SIMM Music Series at the Musicians Union Hall as well as the long standing Luggage Store Gallery New Music Series both in San Francisco. In 2002 he started The Outsound New Music Summit (formerly the edgetone new music summit), a national experimental music festival held in the greater San Francisco Bay Area every summer now produced under the Outsound Presents banner which continues at the present.
photos by Peter B Kaars
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"Romus' sax rekindles that flame egregiously, thematic sketches becoming instant excuses for the instruments to coalesce into a gruelling mass of Pollockian sonic painting that plumps on the brain and self-adjusts until your synapses are completely disjointed."
Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes
"Rent Romus and his Sax are the rudder, guiding the way....his frenzied summersaults lead the band ever upwards towards the sky."
Tobias Fischer, Tokafi
"Romus has been central to the creative music world of the West Coast for a number of years, and he keeps stretching the boundries of originality with each new release." - Frank Rubolino onefinalnote.com/Cadence
"The center piece of the band is Rent Romus with his fantastic sax work, and like his contemporary Zorn, Romus has a long history in the music scene as well as in the established cultural art world working and collaborating with talented musicans."-Jackalblaster
"...master of avant-garde jazz saxophone" - Pete Pardo, Sea of Tranquilty
"Safely, if not sanely put, Lords of Outland imagines Jaco Pastorius playing armor outfitted basketball with a band of crazed bassists and saxophonists. The rhythms run amok, the melodies are anything but friendly, and nausea and sickness is sure to follow."
- Ken Micallef
Lords of Outland