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Dylan van der Schyff: Toys R Him

Dylan van der Schyff

Like any great drummer, Dylan van der Schyff never rushes the music. A creative force on Canada’s West Coast improvised music scene for the past decade, he recently released the first album organized under his own name. Featuring reed master Michael Moore, pianist Achim Kaufmann, bassist Mark Helias and trumpeter Brad Turner, The Definition of a Toy (Songlines) perfectly reflects the drummer’s collaborative sensibility, with each musician contributing pieces to the project.

Assembling a cast of players equally versed in jazz and improvised music, van der Schyff used the session less as an opportunity to assert his vision from the trap set than to forge ties between amenable artists. As Vancouver residents, van der Schyff and Turner have played together in a variety of settings since the early ’90s, including the trumpeter’s quartet and in the celebrated band of cellist Peggy Lee, van der Schyff’s wife. The drummer joined Moore and Kaufmann on several recent tours and has played with Helias occasionally at festivals.

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