Tobias Delius/Wilbert de Joode/Dylan van der Schyff
The Flying Deer


Dylan van der Schyff is a technically gifted Canadian drummer and percussionist whose already distinctive personal style and nice versatility in very different situations is well documented on a pretty long list of albums to which he has contributed and which appear in the catalogue of the Canadian Spool label.

Van der Schyff was one of the ingredients of the beautiful Floating 1...2...3, a record that one found quite easy to recommend - in fact, it turned out to be one of my favourite albums of 2002. Recorded live at the 2000 Vancouver Jazz Festival, Floating 1...2...3 had seen van der Schyff - in a highly colouristic mode - playing beside the melodic cello of Peggy Lee and the alto saxophone and clarinet of Michael Moore, whose playing turned out to be deliciously "otherworldly".

The Flying Deer catches van der Schyff during a Dutch trip: in fact, the album was (clearly) recorded live at the Zaal 100 club in Amsterdam on September 4, 2001. This is also a trio recording, but - quite differently from the aforementioned album - The Flying Deer spotlights the drummer's more rhythmic side; which in a way can only be said to be quite logical, given the personalities of the other members of the line-up: Wilbert de Joode and Tobias Delius, two long-time protagonists of the Dutch scene even if their names are not quite as familiar as those of the "school founders". I had already been very impressed by De Joode on record (and his recent solo album, Olo, is well worth a listen), but hearing his bass live in such different contexts as the Ab Baars Trio plus Roswell Rudd and the Henneman String Quartet during the 2001 Controindicazioni Festival in Rome made me really appreciate his value (it's apparent here, too - just give the bass control on your amplifier a little boost). "Earthier" than Moore, Tobias Delius offers his distinctive coupling of a very traditional timbre and a very modern musical vocabulary, where sometimes "cool" moments appear.

Given the company, avoiding the temptation of sounding like a good Han Bennink impersonator is not always easy for van der Schyff - for instance, listen to the first track on the CD, A Good Idea, where the style is so typically "New Dutch Swing" (and where the instrument one is listening to is Michael Vatcher's!), or to the very fast brushes work of the title-track. But van der Schyff is a musician with an individual style - just listen to the cymbal colours at the beginning of Seven Day Itch or to the beginning of Bar Flies, where only percussions appear. But it's the trio as a whole that definitely impressed me, the interplay and exchange of ideas making one imagine of a much longer acquaintance. Delius is always concentrated, his instrumental language the result of a long distillation process, de Joode is always versatile - just listen to his "drumming" at the start of The Flying Deer or to the solo that starts Zaal 100 - a track that is a perfect microcosm of this record and of an aesthetical vision.

Beppe Colli

© Beppe Colli 2003 | Nov. 22, 2003