NEW REVIEW! January 28, 2016
Louis Romanos Quartet—Take Me There
Sonamor Music, Whitehall Road, Athens, GA
Alex Noppe’s lyrical trumpet playing is prominent throughout this contemplative jazz disc from composer-percussionist Louis Romanos and his quartet. Noppe’s buttery flugelhorn is heard to pleasing effect in the opening bars of Romanos’s Spiritual, which sounds like a tribute to Chuck Mangione’s Feels So Good. After an ostinato opening, a catchy, upbeat shuffle arrives, with Dan Sumner’s electric guitar joining Noppe on solos. Comprised entirely of Romanos’ originals, the album features more of Noppe’s fine trumpet and flugelhorn work, the latter on Lovely, a wandering ballad. Romanos’s percussion supports everything nicely, augmented by tasty playing from veteran Atlanta bassist Neal Starkey.
– Seth Arenstein, instructor of trumpet, Music on The Hill, Washington, DC
An Interview with Musician Louis Romanos, by Adam Tawfik
Louis Romanos is for lack of a better word a jazz musician. An internationally acclaimed drummer and bandleader, Romanos has embarked in a multitude of musical endeavors from scoring video games to live dance performances throughout his career. This January he released a CD entitled Take Me There, a pensive and melodic collection of original compositions. Read more in my interview with Romanos. (Read the rest)
Reviews of our album, Take Me There, and of our 2015 tours (so far). Take a look . . .
Drummer Louis Romanos wastes not a note in any song here (and he wrote them all, people), all four members of the quartet tightly locked into every bar and measure, even when the horn and guitar lay out and let bass and drums dominate for a bit. Romanos reminds me of a cross between Louie Belson and Genesis / Brand X era Phil Collins, Louis a guy working environmentally not just metronomically. The shifts from everyone throughout Take Me There are often subtle, fluid, transmorphic. Just when you settle into an old school format, here comes Dan Sumner on his guitar, tweaking the mode into a sidestream of itself, nudging the foundations aside so the scenery rolls into a new day. The very first cut, Songo, demonstrates this well, and Romanos’ position as a musician, not just a drummer, is critical to the entire ambience. FAME Review, Louis Romanos Quartet, Take Me There (Read the rest)
With “Songo 7”, the first song of this album, you realize the tremendous talent Mr. Romanos and his band have for playing with heart and soul to create a profound sound full of elegance and virtuosity . . . This melodic venture was born in one of the great musical lands of the world, New Orleans, United States, by the percussionist and composer Louis Romanos. The project was the fruit of hope for this artist after leaving New Orleans due to the merciless hurricane Katrina, and settling in Athens, GA . . . Each song has a little bit of Latin jazz, modern sound, bebop style and New Orleans beat. Pure synergy is expressed in each player’s performance as they propose an honest dialog where musicianship is the sweet-sounding sap that flows into its lines. A perfect example is “Lovely”, maybe the most inspiring song of this work, with special and magical power that moves the profound heartstrings of listeners. This beautiful theme starts with some smooth guitar notes that sound like a harp, like the song of mermaids hypnotizing those who listen to it.
– Oscar Montagut, Latin Jazz Network (Read the rest)
“It goes without saying, though I’ll still say it, that Louis Romanos is one of the best musicians I’ve seen live. His compositions are inspirational and dynamic with grooves and meters to die for. He’s on the same level as Antonio Sanchez and Dave King in NY estimation. Such a badass.” -Taylor Combs-musician/composer
There is a clear-cut ensemble identity of shared vision and the willingness to suppress ego and virtuosity for its own sake to deliver the message. Seamless interplay, knowing anticipation and total empathy abound. Solos are not simply supported, but punctuated, enhanced and further emphasized by the other musicians. In the classic tradition of the profound art form of jazz, the music tells stories and paints pictures, with Louis’ drumming providing the plot continuity and unifying the color pattern on each canvas. Every piece – from ballad to scorcher – builds in intensity to its appropriate climax without ever losing its focus on the thematic context.
– Jazz News (Read the rest)
When you combine Louis’ drums with Benedetto guitars from Dan Sumner, horns from Alex Noppe, & bass from Neal Starkey, you’ve got a very together set of tunes… pieces like Aina will appeal to jazz fans of every color & stripe. The high-energy performance on the 4:10 Bruggerman Jam will have you tappin’ right along with Louis, to be sure. There’s a great deal of freedom expressed by each of the players in the quartet, and the opener, Songo 7 is a clear representation of their skill at keeping each of the notes together… the changes on this one are nothing short of exquisite. It was the laid-back into to Changes that caught my vote for personal favorite of the even dozen compositions, though… this evolves from gentle & easy to a mature piece full of a range of emotions. I give Louis & his crew a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.98. -Rotcod Zzaj (Read the rest)
“The best jazz lies in the sum of its parts: When the bassist doesn’t know where he ends and the drummer begins, but they travel down the same musical road together, balancing a thread of a melody with harmonic detours that cause the listener to feel more than overthink. The New Orleans-born Louis Romanos Quartet achieves this special effect in its album, Take Me There.”
– AXS.COM (Read the rest)
Louis Romanos is a strong composer who has a solid sense of melody, rhythm, and variance from tune to tune. It helps to have a supporting cast involving trumpeter Alex Noppe, guitarist Dan Sumner and bassist Neal Starkey. They’ve become a cohesive, well-led unit that enable Louis’ creations to come to life, unfolding as a story with succinct chapters waiting to be revealed from page to page (or track to track in this case). . . . The compositions tell musical stories that leave it open to listener interpretation. Upon first listen, the interplay between the musicians gives the impression of a band with one united mind to convey a message with each piece. “Take Me There” is a fine debut by a talented drummer, composer, and bandleader that will help him make inroads in the jazz scene of today. – Spill Magazine (Read the rest)
“Drummer Louis Romanos has put together a simpatico quartet that delivers communicative post bop sounds. The unorthodox team of Dan Summer/g, Alex Noppe/tp and Neal Starkey/b make use of subtle shifts and complex arrangements. Through it all, Romanos changes the undercurrent to add extra drama, with a playful feel.”
– Jazz Weekly (Read the rest)
“A drummer that knows how to give everyone else some, Romanos has great mastery of the kind of club sound that never hit the charts but kept the clubs packed and spawned an almost religious fervor among the true believers.”
– Midwest Record (Read the rest)
All original songs, [Take Me There] is a beautiful work. I’m hard pressed to name a favorite cut. All of the music is distinctive and unique. These are talented musicians who come together to make sublime music. It has a hint of smooth jazz, of spiritual music (i.e. some contemporary Native American music like that of Carlos Nakai), and an ethereal quality all its own. If you like listening to music after a stressful day, this one’s for you. It is lovely, calming music that will take you to another place as your cares melt away… – Sharon Drane, Author & Pop Culture Diva (Read the rest)
After playing in his high school jazz band with Brad Mehldau and Joel Frahm, drummer and composer Louis Romanos moved to New Orleans to study music and philosophy. There he performed with a wide variety of artists including Chuck Leavell, Al Hirt and Stanton Moore, and founded the electronica band Permagrin. The Louis Romanos Jazz Quartet rose from the desire to realize his compositions that lent themselves to the jazz idiom. – SSU Jazz Forum (Read the rest)
The album of 12 compositions housed some of Romanos says author. The range is almost the same density numbers follow each other, which is clearly recognizable in the New Orleans roots.For those who love the modern-minded, but at the same time traditionalist jazz, a lot of pleasant moments of the album are songs like eg. the “Something Different”, the “Brüggemann Jam” and “Green in Blew”. (Translated) – Michael Czekus (Read the rest)
Hello on Drums, Louis Romanos, “Take Me There,” + Many Concerts! – Jazz Global Beat (Read the rest)
In order to help make Take Me There happen, the quartet ran an IndieGogo crowdfunding campaign in August of 2014. Response was overwhelming, and we’re so grateful for the outpouring of support for what we do. Thanks to our friends, the quartet will continue performing, recording, and teaching. We appreciate the kind words . . .
The question to ask is “Does it bring you joy?” If it does, then nurture it and help it happen. This music brings me joy, and I want more, so I gave money directly to the people who make it happen. You should too. -Eric Stoots, Musician, Portland, OR
I contributed to this fundraising campaign for the Louis Romanos Quartet because I know how hard it is to advance one’s image and career as an independent, self-employed individual. It takes more than a following to be able to do this. It takes connections, and the quartet is building its connections. And, of course, that takes money. The amount that Louis and his band needs is actually quite small when compared to other campaigns, as Louis has already done most of the work and paid expenses on his own. I have been blessed with long-term, excellent clients and I can now share some extra funds so that Louis and his group can share their extraordinary gifts of talent and time with others. I gave $200 towards the funding goal. I sincerely hope that others can thank personal benefactors by giving away some of their wealth, in any amount. -Jerry Hess, Animal Massage & Muscle Therapist, San Antonio, TX
I’ve had the benefit of attending several live LRQ performances over the years. The LRQ personifies a key aspect of American Jazz culture – ever changing, ever evolving. I contributed to the campaign to help keep Jazz uniquely American, especially as attention to the issues surrounding NOLA musicians exiled by Katrina has faded from public attention. I think it is imperative that we do everything possible to guarantee this unique part of American culture for future generations. I hope you agree and contribute to this worthy cause! -Kevin Bell, Student Software Developer, Gainesville, FL
It is such a pleasure to be able to support talented artists. The Louis Romanos Quartet represents sophisticated and edgy jazz. More ears need to hear this music! -Ali Chambers , Vice President at ClearRock, Greater Boston Area
I contributed to this campaign for two reasons. One is because I want more from the LRQ! This music is unlike anything I’ve experienced before – smooth, artistic, elegant, with a brightness and clarity that shines on every track. The compositions emphasize a devotion to detail and a flair for creating a musical canvas in which the instruments are blended, yet distinctly individual. The second reason I contributed is that I am impressed with how this band has held together. In spite of the devastation the band suffered after Katrina, and the years it took to finally release this album, they triumphed. I hope others will support the LRQ, and that its music will continue to play. -Kellie Sharpe, Publisher, Macon, Georgia
A friend of mine introduced me to the new CD Take Me There by The Louis Romanos Quartet. It was love at first hearing. All original songs, the CD is a beautiful work. I’m hard pressed to name a favorite cut. All of the music is distinctive and unique. These are talented musicians who come together to make sublime music. It has a hint of smooth jazz, of spiritual music (i.e. some contemporary Native American music like that of Carlos Nakai), and an ethereal quality all its own. If you like listening to music after a stressful day, this one’s for you. It is lovely, calming music that will take you to another place as your cares melt away . . . Honestly, I haven’t heard such evocative tunes in many years. This music transcends your daily cares and woes, taking you away to a place of serenity. -Sharon Drane, Blogger, Author & Pop Culture Diva