Rent Romus' Lords of Outland
Saxophonist/composer Rent Romus is committed to exploring new paths for improvisation. Last year, he introduced his original Lords of Outland concept on You'll Never Be the Same -- a boisterous (though not unfamiliar) set of largely modal, pushing-for-the-cosmos jams for traditional quartet (sax, trumpet, bass, drums). His better-developed follow-up, ADAPT ... or DIE! (slated for release this week), revamps the Lords into a more deviant configuration with fresh recruits Jon Birdsong (sousaphone), Dave Mihaly (drums), and John Tchicai (tenor sax). The shift in personnel and instrumentation yields a punchier, more expansive format for Romus' self-proclaimed "Nordic Viking Jazz" or "Bull in a China Shop" attitude. The moods his compositions evoke range from stone-chilly frolic to dark-edged gravity, pitting fiery horns against solid but flexible tuba/traps grooves. On tunes like "Descent of the Avatar" and "Dr. Ke's 'I' " (the latter of which finds Romus blowing dual reeds at once, with poise and panache, not unlike Rahsaan Roland Kirk), the leader evokes a stout tonal resonance up and down the register. The multihorn tumult on "Descent" suggests car horns in a gridlock, and the lead on "Dr." demonstrates the 29-year-old saxophonist's maturity as an increasingly melodic, yet ferocious improviser -- all of which bodes well for this emerging jazz explorer.
Rent Romus' Lords of Outland are holding their CD release performance (with guest pianist Jonas Muller from Copenhagen) on Saturday, June 19, at 8 p.m. at Venue 9, 252 Ninth St. (between Folsom and Howard). Tickets are $6-10; call 626-2169.
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