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 Hancock Michigan of the Upper Peninsula 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.
- 2022 Finlandia Foundation National Grant to complete the Recording of Itkuja
- 2021 Intermusic Music Grant Program to complete the Recording of Itkuja
- 2019 Suomi Seura, Finland Ministry of Culture Grant to debut performance of Manala
- 2019 Finlandia Foundation National Grant for the debut performance of Manala
- 2019 Intermusic Music Grant Program to complete the Recording of Manala
- 2017 Recipient Finlandia Goundation National Performance Grant Program
- 2016 Recipient San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music Musical Grant
- 2015 Recipient Finlandia Goundation National Performance Grant Program
- 2014 Recipient San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music Musical Grant
- 2013 Recipient New Music USA Metlife Creative Connections Grant
- 2006 Recipient Meet the Composer Creative Connections Grant
- 2003 Recipient Meet The Composer Grant
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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“One way to say he is “incomparable” is to say that sometimes he recalls for me Oliver Lake, then Charles Parker in the next moment, then Roscoe Mitchell, with fleeting melodic runs a al Ornette Coleman. The players I just mentioned are so radically unlike one another that to hear all of that and more in Romus’ playing is to declare his uniqueness.” - Richard Gilman-Opalsky author/journalist, Activator Magazine USA
"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
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
Artists who share similar musical characteristics to Rent Romus.