Speaking the Language of Jazz With Louis Romanos (via Flagpole)

Athens-based jazz drummer Louis Romanos rarely plays in his adopted hometown.

“There are some people who like it, but you can’t support yourself making jazz here,” he says.

More’s the pity, because the Louis Romanos Quartet—where Romanos is joined by guitarist Dan Sumner, trumpet player Alex Noppe and bassist Neal Starkey—are an accomplished bunch making music that is by turns textural and melodic, simmering and rhythmic.

Instead, Romanos spends much of the year on the road, performing at concerts and clinics. Soon, however, Athens will finally have a chance to enjoy his craft. The quartet is preparing for a release show for a brand new album, Take Me There, Mar. 22 at Hendershot’s.

The venue is an apt choice, given owner Seth Hendershot’s stated intention that it be “a listening room.” “Listening” is a word that comes up often when Romanos talks about what his quartet does.

“We’re all having a conversation, and everyone is listening,” he says. “My model is organic. I want to hear them and be listened to and heard by them… That just takes a certain personality. I purposefully surround myself with people who know how to listen, but aren’t timid.”

“Conversation” is a well established jazz metaphor, especially for those who, like the LRQ, incorporate improvisation into their playing. But Romanos frames it in a new way.

“When somebody plays something through a horn, he is playing vocabulary that he’s learned, that’s in the lexicon and the culture. I’m responding to it creatively within the same paradigm,” he says.

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