Romano learned to play clarinet and alto and tenor sax as a child. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in the 1950s, then joined the band of Woody Herman in 1956; he played intermittently with Herman into the 1970s, including at major jazz festivals and on several worldwide tours. In the 1960s he also played with Chuck Mangione, Sam Noto, and Art Pepper; he was a recurring sideman on Buddy Rich's albums between 1968 and 1974. In the 1970s he played with Les Brown, Louie Bellson, Chuck Israels, Sam Noto again, and with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra. He did session work in California in the 1980s, in addition to working with Frank Capp and Nat Pierce.