Romano moved to France as a child and by the 1950s he was playing guitar and drums professionally in Paris, but he first gained attention when he started working with Don Cherry in 1963. He recorded with Steve Lacy and would go on to tour with Dexter Gordon among others. In the 1970s, he moved into rock-influenced forms of jazz fusion and in 1978 made his first album as a leader. In the 1980s, he returned to his earlier style for several albums. Although he has lived most of his life in France, he has retained an affection for Italy and has set up a quartet of Italian jazz musicians. Romano also played a role in starting the career of French-born Italian-French pianist Michel Petrucciani. In 2004 he won the Jazzpar Prize.