A fine bop-based soloist, Joe Romano has long been underrated. He had several stints with Woody Herman's orchestra from 1956 until the early 1970s. Romano recorded early on with baritone horn player Gus Mancuso (1957), worked with Chuck Mangione's Jazz Brothers in the early '60s and was with Sam Noto for a period (1966-67). Romano had an on-and-off musical relationship with the Buddy Rich Big Band (1968-74) and also played with Les Brown (1970-72) and Louie Bellson while living in Los Angeles. Back in New York, he worked with Noto (recording with him in 1975), Chuck Israels' National Jazz Ensemble, the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra (on a part-time basis) and Bellson. Romano, who has spent most of his career as a freelancer, remains in demand for bop-oriented dates but never gained much recognition except among musicians. His one album as a leader was cut for the Spanish Fresh Sound label in 1987.
By Scott Yanow