The Mechanics of Donati ( A clinic )

aydee

Platinum Member
I had'nt heard much of Virgil Donati. What little I'd heard wasn't really my thing.

I had heard he was a technical monster, some one who had taken the mechanics of drumming to extreme levels and was a master of odd time poly-rhythms.

don 1 fin.jpg

So last night, I got persuaded to his go to a clinic he was doing along with an incredible Australian guitar player ( Brett Garsed ), and Mr. Donati left me absolutely flabbergasted.


He is 52 years old, but looks like a 25 year old athlete.

To play the way he does, one has to have extreme fitness and agility. He does.

He plays like an ascetic in a trance,his mind seems a million miles away.


He is also what I’d call an impact player. By that I mean there are lots great players that will wow you, but then there are some players that have an electric, riveting presence, and their playing demands your total attention.

At one point he's doing these incredibly fast cross –handed doubles across his floor toms ( 14" LEFT & 14" RIGHT ), and the same pattern on double bass.... then he intentionally flams the two patterns. My jaw dropped.

He was playing whole drum set grooves ( with all the dynamics thrown in ) just off a single bass pedal, while the rest of him was layering other patterns on top of it.

His main hi -hat was accented by two remote hats, creating a very electronic sounding decay... very interesting.

And his sense of time defies description!!!.


don fin 9.jpg


Talking to Garsed after the show, I asked him just "how freaky" he thought Donati was.

He laughed and said " Virgil cuts time sideways, like a cross-section.. like slicing a fillet of fish".

Finally upon meeting him all I could only think of was a really stupid question to ask ;

" So how does it feel to be looking down the mountain, rhythmically speaking? "

He said he started playing at 7 and lamented the fact that he hasn't even "begun to scratch the surface yet".


He is worth seeing regardless of what your style of music may be.

He shows you whats possible. And you go " It cant be". Thats the essence of Virgil Donati.

His passion for his instrument is infectious. He practices like a madman.. been doing it since he was 12 and still has that look on his face..

Sadly,the evening was not well attended due to poor promoter management.
For all the Donati Doubters out there, and I was one too.. do go see him if you get a chance. He is a genius, and he isn’t like anybody else.

don 2 fin.jpg
don fin 3.jpg
don fin 5.jpg
don fin 7.jpg
don fin 8.jpg

( sorry for the phone pics )
 
Last edited:

Doug Masters

Silver Member
Thanks for the pics. I have been a Donati fan since the 1997 MD festival. He is quite amazing! For those who think he is all show you check out the grooves from a band called Freakhouse he played in a few years ago.
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
Virgil is 1/3 of the "Super-Drummer" trio. When it comes to this "extreme" style, it's him, Minneman, and Mangini and then pretty much everyone else.
 

Tutin

Pioneer Member
Virgil is 1/3 of the "Super-Drummer" trio. When it comes to this "extreme" style, it's him, Minneman, and Mangini and then pretty much everyone else.
Don't you mean 1/4? I thought I was the fourth?


:p


Virgil is amazing. Great showman, and a big influence of mine. Well, actually it's more like he plays things that I would play if I had his chops, you know how you get that with certain drummers.

Amazing, really jealous you got to see him.

T
 

burnthehero

Pioneer Member
I've heard about his discipline before. Somebody told me he kayaks for miles in the ocean every day as part of his practice regimine.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
Only today I discovered this old thread of yours, Aydee - and I'm really jealous of you!

I've seen Virgil in a clinic some years ago, too, and I really want to see him live again!

....wait a minute.... He's coming to Switzerland in spring :)!! And he's teamed up with
the one and only Allan Holdsworth, so I'm sure this concert will be an absolute blast!!!

Now to be kind of a Virgil-Ambassador:

Allan Holdsworth Band

January 13 - Brick by Brick - San Diego, CA
January 14 - Community Theater Whittier - Whittier, CA
January 16 - Rhythm Room - Phoenix, AZ
March 11 - Sellersville Theater - Sellersville, PA
March 12 - Ram's Head Tavern - Annapolis, MD
March 14 - The Newton Theater - Newton, NJ
March 15 - The Iridium - New York, NY
March 16 - The Iridium - New York, NY
March 17 - The Iridium - New York, NY
March 20 -Mexicali Live - Teaneck, NJ
March 21 - The Iron Horse - Nothhampton, MA
March 22 - Johnny D's - Boston, MA
March 23 - The Infinity Hall - Norfolk, CT
March 24 - The Van Dyck - Schenectady, NY
March 27 - Cosmo Music - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
March 28 -The Tralf Music Hall - Buffalo, NY
March 30 - Gilly's Jazz - Dayton, OH
March 31 - The Jazz Cafe - Detroit, MI
April 1 - Martyr's - Chicago, IL
April 3 - The Shank Hall - Milwaukee, WI
April 8 - The Coach House - San Juan Capistrano, CA

European Tour - Chapter One

May 15 - Schlactof - Kassel, Germany
May 16 - P60 - Amstelveen, Netherlands
May 17 - Scala - Leverkusen, Germany
May 18 - Paradox - Tilburg, Netherlands
May 19 - Sunset Sunside Jazz Club - Paris, France
May 21 - Tollhaus - Leverkusen, Germany
May 23 - La Salumeria della Musica - Milano, Italy
May 24 - Grand Casino - Basel, Switzerland
May 25 - Jazz Klub Moods
May 26 - Lugano, Switzerland

Featuring Allan Holdsworth (guitar) and Jimmy Haslip (bass)
Edit: And of course, Virgil Donati (drums)!!

For all booking inquiries worldwide, please contact noanoamusic@moonjune.com
 
Last edited:

uniongoon

Gold Member
Thank You from the bottom of my heart Swiss. March 27 at Cosmo in Toronto. I am a huge Holdsworth fan and never thought I would get the opportunity. You just elevated my day.
 

DrumDoug

Senior Member
I read an interview with Virgil some years ago and he said that he practices 10 hours a day. He mentioned that he does not have a girlfriend or wife because he practices so much that he doesn't have time for one. I found that kind of sad. I had a gig one time with a guitar player that had moved to California from Australia. We were both filling in with a country band. He said he had played with Virgil a few times and that while Virgil could do amazing things on the drums, he didn't like playing with him. He said Virgil couldn't just lay down a simple groove. He just kept throwing complicated things in the song that didn't fit in with the simple country style they were playing. That conversation was around '98 or '99, which means that it has been 20 or more years since that guitar player has played with Virgil. Maybe he has mellowed out since then.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
He said Virgil couldn't just lay down a simple groove. He just kept throwing complicated things in the song that didn't fit in with the simple country style they were playing. That conversation was around '98 or '99, which means that it has been 20 or more years since that guitar player has played with Virgil. Maybe he has mellowed out since then.
He sure can. There are lots of examples even on youtube, i.e. him laying down straight
grooves with the singer Tina Arena.
 
Top