nobody knows virgil donati (speaking of the people as a whole), and that's cuz he takes crazy ass, difficult, near impossible stunts that do not for the most part contribute to music (speaking of music as a whole).
Good point. The problem is that most people and even alot of drummers don't know who Donati is. You have to make the kind of impact on the masses that Rich did to make a comparison like this. Clearly today, the most popular few guys to be considered the royalty are Gadd, Colaiuta, Weckl, Chambers....and none of them is anywhere near as well known as Buddy was. I really don't think one drummer stands out today like in the past. And maybe that's a good thing. It's just proving that drumming has come a long way and that there are thousands of excellent drummers today.