San Francisco's jazz improv guru Rent Romus began playing music at an early age. He started on the piano at the age of five, but it wasn't until high school that Romus began pursuing jazz, and wound up studying the musical form more thoroughly at the Stanford Jazz Workshop at Stanford University, during which time he learned from such masters as Stan Getz, guitarist Bruce Forman, Dizzy Gillespie, Mel Martin, and Eddie Moore. When Romus was 16, he directed a 17-piece big band called the North Area Youth Jazz Ensemble (NAYJE), and from the experience, realized he had a knack for organizing large musical ensembles.
In the late '80s, Romus attended the University of California at Santa Cruz, and formed the acoustic jazz sextet Jazz on the Line (issuing such acclaimed releases as Jazz on the Line With Chico Freeman and In the Moment). The group eventually changed its name to 2AM. By 1993, Romus had formed an alterna-jazz outfit along with drummer James Zitro and former Sun Ra Arkestra cellist Kash Killion, dubbed the Lords of Outland. The trio released You'll Never Be the Same in 1995, and was also spotlighted on the BET national network show Jazz Central as part of the Jazz Discovery program.
The same year, Romus coordinated his first tour in Europe as he put together a series of shows in Denmark that featured the best of Copenhagen's young improv players, including pianist/trumpet player Jonas Müller. A year later, Romus returned to Denmark and played shows alongside Müller (the tour was titled the Rent Romus Sound Cirkus). Also in 1996, Romus guested on French bluesman Paris Smith's first U.S. release, Bleedin' Heart.
In 1997, Romus recorded with renowned tenor sax player John Tchicai (who is best known for his work with both John Coltrane and Albert Ayler) -- resulting in the album Adapt...or DIE! Romus' latest project includes the band Blood Motions which features young Danish protégés Stefan Pasborg and bassist Jonas Westergaard. Along with music, Romus has organized and produced multimedia events featuring dance, theater, literature, and painting.