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Aaron Comess
Catskills Cry
(Hey Boy Music)
by Sara Huguenard
10.22.06
 
Aaron Comess may be best known as founder of and drummer for the internationally-known Spin Doctors, a band who enjoyed moderate success in the early nineties. In addition, he has played session for a number of well-known artists:  Joan Osbourne and Marc Cohn among them. This is his first solo release, a jazz-influenced three-piece instrumental album.

Roughly half-way through my first listen of this recording I thought to myself “it sounds as if someone just pulled together an afternoon jam session and threw it on a disc”. I scanned the liner notes and sure enough, the collection was recorded over the course of a single day. This may give you an idea of where I am headed here, because…well…as the old saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

It was difficult to believe that this was the culmination of two years’ worth of writing. While the transition between songs does elude somewhat to the variety of landscapes said to inspire it and may possibly have been quite good given the right interpretation, the performance lacks inspiration--guitars, drums and bass all droning along behind the “pace” of its compositions throughout the entire album, without so much of a hint of the great guitar (Bill Dillon – Robbie Robertson, Joni Mitchell) and bass (Tony Levin – King Crimson, Peter Gabriel) talent behind it. At no point during these pieces was there any monumental change in the orchestration…or an indication of the “creative interpretation” said to have been present during this session. There was just nothing that stood out. Where the album may have been saved by production, it didn’t seem as though there was much of anything done to improve or enhance what came through the board. But perhaps the biggest disappointment of all is that--in a day and age where amateurs have the ability to create great masterpieces with a bargain board and some computer equipment in a dingy basement--a group of people with so much experience could feel comfortable releasing this bore. 

Bottom line? About all I can see this album being good for is a background play for a dinner party where music would assuredly not be a topic of conversation. Perhaps Mr. Comess would best further his career by going back to session drumming…or spending a little more time and heart in the recording process.