from “Culture Of Pain”
Rent Romus is a force spanning twenty years of original improvised music, production, and performance. Romus is the founder and producer of Edgetone Records a new music label since 1991. He is also the Executive Director of Outsound.org under which he is the head curator of The SIMM Music Series at the Studio 6 Musicians Union Hall, and the famous Luggage Store Gallery New Music Series in San Francisco. He was the former Director of Promotion for the SFAlt Festival 2002-2004. Romus also runs a new music distribution network for independent artist run record labels called UIRC (Ultra Independent Recording Coalition) currently available online as well as the Artistic Director of the Outsound Presents…The Edgetone Music Summit, a national music festival held in the greater San Francisco Bay Area every summer.
During the mid 80’s, Romus enhanced his studies at the Stanford Jazz Workshop at Stanford University, where he was blessed with the wisdom and guidance from Stan Getz, guitarist Bruce Forman, Dizzy Gillespie, Mel Martin, and drummer Eddie Moore. In 1984 at the age of 16, Romus re-organized directed NAYJE (the North Area Youth Jazz Ensemble), a seventeen piece big band featuring some of the best young high school and college bay area musicians at the time. In the fall of 1986, while attending the University of California at Santa Cruz, he formed the group Jazz On The Line which became the focus for his compositions and productions. JOTL was an acoustic jazz sextet that fused jazz, blues, gospel, and hip-hop into original compositions. Romus produced three albums for this group including his critically acclaimed CD Jazz On the Line with Chico Freeman, In The Moment on Edgetone Records soon to be reissued. Mid span the group changed it’s name to 2AM, and was considered one of the founding bands of the “acid jazz” scene popular in the early nineties parallel to Charlie Hunter and the like .
In 1993 seeking a more expanded format to explore, Romus formed the modern music group RKZtet, which featured ex-ESP recording artist and drum master James Zitro and former Sun Ra Arkestra cellist Kash Killion, both noted for their contribution to the development of the “new jazz” of the sixties. Later in 1994 Romus renamed the group, The Lords of Outland, and brought in soon to be film music composer Vytas Nagisetty (Brock Lee) on bass, Andrew Borger (currently drummer for Tom Waits) and Jason Olaine (Jay O), (former AR director for Verve Records Universal) on trumpet.
The Lords of Outland recorded their first album You’ll Never Be The Same, Jazzheads Records JH9493 in 1995, and were featured on the then fledgeling BET Channel National Network Show, “Jazz Central” as part of the Jazz Discovery program. (The judges sat and starred at the camera as they tried to say something nice about the Eric Dolphy version of ‘Out to Lunch‘ submitted alongside Pat Matheny) That same year Romus self-produced his first overseas national tour of Denmark which featured many of Copenhagen’s young improvisers discovering such musicians as pianist/trumpet player Jonas Müller who had moved the S.F. Bay Area later in the 90’s, and drummer Stefan Pasborg who now enjoys world wide performance stature throughout Europe.
In 1996 Romus returned to Denmark for his second tour with Jonas as the Rent Romus Sound Cirkus. The group also inlcuded San Francisco basists George Cremanchi and saxophonist Alex Weiss. After returning to the U.S. they continued on to the Bay Area to finish the tour. During that year he also assisted bluesman Paris Slim produce his first major American release with guitarist Joe Lewis Walker and Sonny Rhodes. In 1997 Romus had the honor of recording with tenor sax master John Tchicai. Tchicai is best known for his work with the NY Art Quartet, NY Ear and Eye Control, and his recordings with John Coltrane and Albert Ayler. The CD of this recording, Adapt…or DIE! was released at the end of 1997. In 1998 Romus released Blood Motions featuring his young Danish protégés Stefan Pasborg and bassist Jonas Westergaard.
In 2001 Romus re-opened his avant, free music lable Edgetone Records, where his as well as some of the best improvisers in Californnia releases can be found. Romus still loves the interweaving science fiction, horror literature, improvisation, Finno-Ugric traditions, socio-political themes, and the inspiration of Albert Ayler in his music.
Since then Romus’ ongoing free improvisational/experimental project the Lords of Outland have mutated through many incarnations. Most recent they have included collaborations with drummer Philip Everett, bassist Ray Schaeffer (of Tri-Cornered-Tent-Show), and noise artist C.J. Reäven Borosque, as well as free-jazz legend Jim Ryan etc. He is also founding member of The Abstractions, who released three recordings during their time together. Although his past is in jazz, he has expanded into other realms of improvisation and sound exploration, including electroacoustic instruments. His fascination for experimental music is cross-genre and all encompassing.
more on Rent Romus here…