Rent Romus

Instrument: Saxophone, alto | Location: Oakland

Updated: November 3, 2018

Born: January 6, 1968

Rent Romus is a saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist, composer, bandleader, music producer, and community leader hailed by Downbeat as having “...a bold sound, unmistakable sincerity and conviction”. A third generation Finnish American born in the great north of Upper Michigan and growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Romus' work on the saxophone has been dubbed “ferocious” by the San Francisco Weekly and “central to the creative music world of the West Coast” by writer jazz critic Frank Rubolino. From his very beginnings as a student of jazz while being exposed to the twilight tutelage of Stan Getz he found himself drawn to the outer realms of Sun Ra and Albert Ayler, as well as Arthur Blythe, Derek Bailey and Merzbow.

He runs the Lords of Outland a free jazz unit since 1994, the Life’s Blood Ensemble a contemporary original ensemble, and works with pianist Thollem McDonas in the Bloom Project, composer bandleader Heikki “Mike” Koskinen, the collective improvisation group The Ruminations and other various projects.

Rent Romus has recorded music exploring improvisation and composition in a wide variety of musical settings both as a leader and sideman which have included Chico Freeman, John Tchicai, Vinny Golia, Thollem McDonas, Heikki “Mike” Koskinen, Stefan Pasborg, James Zitro, Kash Killion, and Jon Bridsong to name a few.

He is the founder of Edgetone Records with over 30 years of independent music production, and performance experience as well as the founder and Executive Director of the non-profit Outsound Presents under which curates the bi-weekly music series known as SIMM at the Musicians Union Hall, the weekly Luggage Store Gallery Creative Music Series, as well as annual Outsound New Music Summit, the Bay Area's creative music festival held every summer in San Francisco.

Gear

Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone, Unison Soprano Saxophone, Lyon Healy C-melody low C saxophone, Rovner ligatures, Marca reeds, Kantele by Gerry Henkel, Conn flute

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Album Reviews
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”Indeed, Romus and associates have reached a milestone with this top-notch outing that defies strict categorizations when considering bridges between free improvisation and modern progressive jazz. It's a seamless incorporation of the best of many worlds.” —Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz review of Rising Colossus 2016

“...sounds to me like what Charlie Parker should have sounded like if he was really as great as they say.” —Tom Hull, The Best Jazz Albums of 2014

“Romus has been central to the creative music world of the West Coast for a number of years, and he keeps stretching the boundaries of originality with each new release.” —Frank Rubolino onefinalnote.com/Cadence

“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

“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

“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

“Swings like death and hell.” —Jack Lind, Det Fri Aktuelt, Copenhagen, Denmark

“Romus has a bold sound, unmistakable sincerity and conviction.” —Downbeat

Primary Instrument

Saxophone, alto

Location

Oakland

Clinic/Workshop Information

Music Business Discussion/ Q&A Rent Romus has worked as an independent music producer and curator since 1984. He runs Edgetone Records launched in 1991 originally a vanity label to support his recordings and later in 2001 began releasing other artists primarily from the San Francisco Bay Area crossing many forms of improvised and experimental music. He was the Executive Director of Jazz in Flight from 1996-1997 a non-profit jazz presenting organization based in Oakland California until it disbanded in 2001 which booked creative touring and local performing musicians at Yoshi's (jazz club) in Oakland California

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Recordings