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Dom Um Romão is an original stylist of the drums, an instrument in which he is able to evoke sounds of nature, adding much-appreciated overtones by the many artists to whom he has been associated. He also has developed an expressive solo discography.
Dom Um Romão became a professional in the late '40s, playing the drums at dance orchestras, later being hired by the Rádio Tupi's orchestra. He was responsible for taking Elis Regina from TV to the Beco das Garrafas (Rio's 52nd Street), where, in 1955, he formed his Copa Trio (which also had pianist Toninho and bassist Manuel Gusmão). In the same period, he was hired by the Vogue nightclub. In 1958, he participated in the bossa nova initial milestone, Elizeth Cardoso's album Canção do Amor Demais. In 1961, Romão played with Sérgio Mendes in his Brazilian Jazz Sextet, which performed in the South American Jazz Festival (Uruguay). In 1962, with Sérgio's Bossa Rio Sextet, he participated in the Bossa Nova Festival at the Carnegie Hall. With Cannonball Aderley, he recorded Cannonball's Bossa-nova (Riverside). With the Copa Trio, he performed in the historic bossa nova show O Fino da Bossa, at the Teatro Paramount (1964). It was the first time that bossa nova was launched in the city of São Paulo. His first album, Dom Um, is from the same year. With pianist Dom Salvador and pianist Miguel Gusmão as the new formation of the Copa Trio, he accompanied several singers at the Bottle's nightclub, at the Beco das Garrafas, including the Quarteto em Cy. Joined by Jorge Ben, they became the Copa 4. Philips released his Dom Um in the same year. In 1965, he participated in Flora Purim's (then his wife) opening album, Flora É MPB (RCA). In the same year, he was invited by Norman Granz to move to the U.S. again, where he performed with Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto, following them to Europe. A most requested sessionman, he recorded many albums, including one with Tom Jobim. Romão joined Sérgio Mendes's Brasil 66, recording the LP Fool on the Hill (A&M), and toured Brazil (1966). In the next year, he participated on the LP Francis Albert Sinatra & Antônio Carlos Jobim. Leaving Sérgio Mendes's group, he recorded with Tony Bennett (The Movie Song Album), among others. In 1971, Romão replaced Airto Moreira in the Weather Report. Dom Um Romão came in 1972.
In 1973, he released Spirit of the Times and toured with Blood, Sweat and Tears. Hotmosphere was released in 1976. Owner of Black Beans studios in New Jersey, he moved to Switzerland in the early '80s. His Dom Um Romão Quintet performed abroad and backed many important artists like Blood, Sweat and Tears and Tony Bennett. Saudades was released in 1993, and in 1998, he recorded the CD Rhythm Traveller in Brazil.