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Filmtrax: ROBOT (Rats and other Memos) by Rent Romus' Jazz On The line Quartet

Saxophonist/composer Rent Romus formed this band when attending the University of California in 1986 yet has also built a solid reputation with his avant approaches to music for this cutting edge record label. Filmmaker Steven Marshall asked Romus to compose works for a story pertaining to corporate corruption. And not having seen the film, it’s relatively effortless to discern that the saxophonist conjures up a visual portraiture with flowing grooves often subset with jazz-rock pulses and the acoustic-electric format.

Romus’ emotive phrasings on alto sax ride atop Ray Schaeffer’s pumping bass lines and drummer Philip Everett’s snappy backbeats. As the majority of these tracks offer memorable hooks and scrappy exchanges, abetted by Scott Looney’s perky organ grooves and Andre Custodio’s streaming analog synth lines. In turn, the band’s quirky yet largely, hard-hitting workouts are engineered upon a modernist-retro gait, chock full of supple surprises and off-kilter diversions.

The saxophonist’s muscular phrasings are nicely countered by his penchant for spinning a melody with grit and improvisational acumen. And the unit’s scrappy mode of attack features some fireworks, noted on "Night Flyer (chase/fight theme)," where Romus and Looney kick matters into overdrive via a rather fun-filled sequence of call and response mechanisms. Here, they instill the requisite imagery noted by the song title. Otherwise, you won’t chance upon any filler material on this thirty-minute plus outing. Quality beats out quantity every time as Romus pronounces that adage with technical bravura and a strong compositional pen.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Rent Romus' Jazz On The line Quartet
  • CD Title: Filmtrax: ROBOT (Rats and other Memos)
  • Genre: Progressive
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Edgetone Records
  • Musicians: Rent Romus (Alto Saxophone, Percussion), Scott R. Looney (Keyboards), Phillip Everett (Percussion, Drums, Autoharp, Mallet Cat), Ray Schaeffer (6-String Electric Bass), Guest Appearance: André Custodio, (Conga, Electronics)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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