Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Romano, Aldo

Romano, Aldo, drummer, composer and ensemble leader; b. Belluno, Veneto, Italy, 16 January 1941. The Romano family moved to France when Aldo was seven years old. Ever since he has worked and lived in the European center of jazz: Paris. But he still has his Italian citizenship.

Romano studied guitar and was already playing professionally in Paris in the 1950s. After hearing Donald Byrd's group with drummer Arthur Taylor through the air-shaft in the street, Romano took up the drums 20 years old. He is basically self-taught and an admirer of Philly Joe Jones, Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Ed Blackwell and Billy Higgins. In the early 1960s Romano was employed with Barney Wilen's and Michel Portal's local modern groups. This led to Romano playing with visiting Americans including Jackie McLean, Bud Powell, Stan Getz and Kenney Drew. Romano met bass player Jean-Franssois Jenny-Clark from whom he was inseparable for a long while. As early as 1964 the drummer was involved in one of the first European free jazz formations. Over the next few years the drum playing of Sunny Murray among others influenced him. Also playing regularly with Don Cherry and Gato Barbieri made an impression. Romano fondly remembers his first visit to Denmark in 1966 when he played at the Cafe Montmartre in Copenhagen with Cherry's band including Barbieri. He worked simultaneously with Barney Wilen and Michel Portal and also with less avant-garde musicians such as Eddy Louiss, Jean-Luc Ponty, Phil Woods or Charles Tolliver. Romano met Joachim Kuhn and worked regularly with him over a number of years. In 1967, they made two records together on a trip to the United States, where Joachim and Rolf Kuhn's quartet was performing at the Newport Festival. Early on Romano proved to be interested in the possibility of combining the aesthetics of free jazz with the binary rhythm of rock music. This spawned a number of albums in 1968 where Romano played a vital part. In 1969, a particularly fertile year, he recorded with Kuhn, Portal, Steve Lacy, worked with Keith Jarrett for a while, and in 1970 formed Total Issue with flautist Chris Hayward, guitarist Georges Locatelli and bass player Henri Texier, an attempt at fusion in which Romano revealed a new facet of his talent because, as well as playing the drums and guitar, he sang. The commercial failure of Total Issue eventually caused the group to split. Romano then spent most of his time playing as a sideman, often in the company of Jenny-Clark, for French and American band-leaders. In 1974 Aldo Romano formed Pork Pie with saxophonist Charlie Mariano, keyboardist Jasper Van't Hoff, guitarist Philip Catherine and Henry Texier, rapidly replaced by Jenny-Clark. In 1977 he reunited with Enrico Rava who took him and Jenny-Clark on in his quartet with trombonist Roswell Rudd. On one of the quartet's trips to Rome, Romano recorded an album made up exclusively of duos with Jenny-Clark, dedicated to Pavese . In the following years the group Alma Latina brought together several young musicians discovered by the drummer, in particular Jean-Pierre Fouquey and Benoit Wideman, and also old friends such as Philip Catherine. During the 1980s Romano looked back to his earlier style, to the small-group free music. He brought pianist Michel Petrucciani to the world's attention, by introducing him to the producer of Owl Records. In trios they made several records. Then Romano recorded with Catherine and with Texier and saxophonist Eric Barret. In 1988 Romano's Italian roots were fondly remembered with the foundation of his Italian Quartet with Paolo Fresu, Franco D'Andrea, and Furio Di Castri. He formed a trio he formed in 1995 with Louis Sclavis and Henri Texier for a three-week tour of six Central African countries. Three years later the three companions renewed the experience with a trip around Eastern Africa. His taste for foreign ambiences brought Romano to compose Corners accompanied by Tim Miller (g), Mauro Negri (cl) and Ronnie Paterson (p).

In 2004, the JAZZPAR prize went to Romano. Selected by The International JAZZPAR Prize Committee out of 15 nominees, Romano because the second Italian and sixth European out of 15 prize-winners since 1990. Romano performed with a combo at a number of concerts culminating with the Prize Concert in Tivoli, Sunday afternoon April 25, 2004.

Recordings:
Il Piacere (1978); Night diary (1980); Alma Latina (1983); To Be Ornette To Be (1989); Water Dreams (Italy 1990); Ritual (1991); Non Dimenticar (1994); Prosodie (1995); Canzoni (1997); Palatino (1998); Corners (1999); Intervista (2001); Because of Bechet (2002)
As sideperson:
Don Cherry: Togetherness (1965); Steve Lacy Trio: Disposability (1965); Giorgio Gaslini Ensemble: Nuovi sentimenti (1966); Michael Mantler, Steve Lacy, Carla Bley and Kent Carter: Jazz Realities (1966); Steve Lacy: Sortie (1966); Rolf Kuhn: Impressions of New York (1967); Francois Tusques: Le nouveau Jazz (1967); Rolf and Joachim Kuhn: Transfiguration (1967); Gato Barbieri: Obsession (1967); Barney Wilen: Dear Prof Leary (1968); Giorgio Azzolini: Crucial moment (1968); Joachim Kuhn: Sounds of feelings (1969); Michel Portal: Our meaning and our  feelings (1969); Steve Lacy: Epistrophy (1969); Steve Kuhn, Steve Swallow: Childhood is forever (1969); Joachim Kuhn: Paris is wonderful (1969); Total Issue (1970); Karin Krog: Different days, different  ways (1970); Robin Kenyatta's Free State Band (1972); Chris Hinze, James Moody, Jeremy Steig, Sahib Shihab and Joachim Kuhn: Flute Summit (1973); Pork Pie: Transitory (1973); Jasper van 't Hof: Transitory (1974); Charlie Mariano: Jazz a confronto,  Vol. 15 (1975); The Paris Quartet: Jazz a Confronto  Vol.28 (1975); Franz Koglmann: Opium for Franz (1975); Francois Jeanneau: Techniques douces (1976); Michel Graillier: Ad Lib (1976); Franssois Jeanneau: Ephemere (1977); Jean-Francois Jenny-Clark duo: Devieto di Santificzaione (1977); Massimo Urbani: Invitation (1977); Enrico Rava Quartet (1978); Henri Texier: A cordes et a  cris (1979); Gordon Beck: Sunbird (1979); Philippe Petit: For all the life, you  are in my heart (1979); Clarinet Summit: "Live" You better fly away (1979); Christian Escoude: Return (1979); Jasper Van't Hof, Bob Malach, Didier Lockwood, Bo Stief: Eyeball (1980); Jasper Van't Hof + Eyeball: Jazzbuhne  Berlin '80, Vol 8 (1980); Michel Graillier: Dream Drops (1981); Michel Petrucciani Trio: Estate (1982); Philip Catherine: Transparence (1986); Henri Texier: Izlaz (1988); Henri Texier: Colonel Skopje (19 88); Steve Kuhn: Oceans In The Sky (1989);  Ron McClure and John Abercrombie: Yesterday's Tomorrow (1989); Michel Petrucciani: Playground (1991); Pietro Tonolo: Tresse (1992); Michel Benita: Soul (1993); European Music Orchestra: Guest (1994); Michel Portal: Cinemas (1994-95); Jasper Van't Hof: Face To Face (1995); Louis Sclavis and Henri Texier: Carnet De Routes (1995); Louis Sclavis and Henri Texier: Suite  Africaine (1999); Joe Lovano: Ten Tales (2003)

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