Oregon native Rob Scheps began studying the tenor saxophone at age nine. He grew up on Long Island, New York. After having graduated high school at age sixteen, he enrolled in the New England Conservatory. He received a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies with Honors in performance in 1986. While living in the Boston area he led his own groups; most notably the True Colors Big Band. In 1988 he moved to New York, formed the Rob Scheps Core-tet and Bartokking Heads and established himself as a formidable force on the jazz scene.