Virgil Donati

uniongoon

Gold Member
Well I caught Virgil last night with Haslip and Holdsworth and the night before by himself in clinic. I liked the clinic, but after seeing him in the band context, the clinic was mediocre at best. Virgil killed it, he and Alan were a little crotchety because the on stage mix I guess was not doing for them, but they overcame it and put on one of the best playing performances I have ever witnessed. It was sold out in a very small auditorium, 300 people maybe? If you judged each guys performance by audience response, Virgil stole the show. I am not that familiar with his history other than what I browsed on youtub, but it seemed he was consciously trying to avoid heavy double bass playing, which I expected to be everywhere judging what I had seen of him. Also, his physical fitness blew my mind. I would give my left nut to have that kind of stamina.

I have followed Holdsworth over the years, have heard much recordings, bootleg etc. to hear how different players approach his music, and no disrespect to Gary Husband, who probably will read this, but Virgil seemed to fit better than any player I have seen. He smoothed out the jagged edge that I have often noticed in his songs, really flowed nicely. Jimmy Haslip was cool to watch too, the guy is a giant.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
I'm so looking forward to seeing the trio live in Switzerland in May :D!
Virgil is one of my absolute favourite drummers. He just kills big time,
especially live. Also, I've never seen Holdsworth live, so it will be really
great seeing them play together.
 

DangerousDave

Senior Member
lol. This brings back memories. Saw them twice......never cared for the band or their music, but couldn't wait to see Virg do his thing on both occasions. It's rare I go to see any band I'm not into just to see a single member, but that is the drawing power of Donati I guess.

And to think I was reading in another thread recently where someone said he was too complicated to just "lay it down"......obviously they never saw Southern Sons. :)
He plays so simple and straight just to serve the song. And then comes a bridge in the song or something and then you realize you don't mess with Virgil :D There are a lot of moments like that that come totally unexpected and blow you away.
 

uniongoon

Gold Member
My experience watching him with Holdsworth, way technical, super busy and complex whilst remaining solid in the groove at same time. It seemed too he was consciously staying away from heavy double bass drum work too, which seeing his you tube stuff I expected to see a barrage of double kick.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
Most awesome video, thanks Morgenthaler!!

I think getting this gig with Allan Holdsworth is one of the best things that could
happen to Virgil!
 

richkenyon

Silver Member
Most awesome video, thanks Morgenthaler!!

I think getting this gig with Allan Holdsworth is one of the best things that could
happen to Virgil!
I think that's true - and Holdsworth likes drummers that don't simply play repeating patterns, so Virgil is a natural.

What is interesting to me however is the fact that Virgil still has a broadly rock sound, as opposed to a jazz/fusion sound. It takes some getting used to with what is fusion music, after all. Did anyone else think the drum kit sounded a bit flat on that last video? Not so much tone.... and it's a Pearl Reference I'm sure.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Did anyone else think the drum kit sounded a bit flat on that last video? Not so much tone.... and it's a Pearl Reference I'm sure.
Yes. But in my experience, that's pretty much the de facto sound of the really technical drummer. Every note is clear and articulate, even during really fast phrases.The sound itself is not something I find pleasing, though.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
I've seen them live last Friday (and I'm still blown away), and while Virgil doesn't tune
his toms dead at all (his small toms are always rather open), but he certainly has a
rock sound to them. He uses an 18" floor tom, too, and that one sounds so deep!

Also: He plays VERY loud :). His sound fits him perfectly - if it fits the trio I think
that's down to personal taste. He did change some cymbals for the gig (Legacy ride),
but he's still very much on the rock side of things.
 

richkenyon

Silver Member
Yes. But in my experience, that's pretty much the de facto sound of the really technical drummer. Every note is clear and articulate, even during really fast phrases.The sound itself is not something I find pleasing, though.
Hmmm.... Weckl is as technical as they come but his drums just sing.
 
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