Album Review: Rob Scheps | Comencio | Music | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
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Album Review: Rob Scheps | Comencio 

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Rob Scheps: Comencio
(SteepleChase Records)

Rob Scheps says in the notes to Comencio that it's a disk of dedications. One track excepted, that one for his mother, Scheps's dedications are for the composers, or to prominent players associated with the tune. It's interesting how this selection technique creates an emotional narrative in the sequencing. From the boisterous, optimistic feel of opener "The Flip Side" by Scheps's late friend John Abercrombie, to the angular, exotic "Message from the Nile" by McCoy Tyner, through the Bacharach-Costello composition "I Still Have That Other Girl" (on which Schep's sax strikingly emulates Elvis's distinct phrasing and gulping delivery), Scheps and band interject modal numbers and post-bop riffing amid mournful cool-jazz, Baker-esque ballads. It's easy to hear a kind of hero's journey in this flow—from innocence to experience, as it were. The last number is Kenny Dorham's "Short Story," which, I took, in context, as a roughed-up but confident version of the voice I heard in the opening track.

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