Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)
I like the Yngwie Malmsteen parallel you draw up there. I've recently begun to explore guitarists as musicians a bit (don't worry, I'm no good at the guitar, so I'm not going to stop playing as a result) and I got my hands on G3: Live at Denver. Of Satriani, Malmsteen and Vai I personally enjoyed Satch the most.
However, after over an hour of music I sat back and went over Malmsteen's performance in my head. I just realised how utterly over-the-top and unmusical it actually was. Technically brilliant, absolutely, and I can appreciate that. His neck speed is incredible (I would argue Satch has him in that department though) but there just seemed to be no musical end to his technical virtuosity.
That's how I feel when I hear say, Virgil. And don't get me wrong, I have utter respect for the guy, if I could play drums a fifth as well as him I'd be very happy with myself. However I find some of his playing unlistenable. Like Malmsteen. It's like I could sit back, listen and then afterwards say 'Wow; that was amazing, now when does the music begin?'
Personally I'd rather listen to an expressive guitarist who has technical flaws (alá Hendrix, it can be argued) than a technically perfect guitarist with no idea of musical context (alá Malmsteen) but the same is true. I have utter respect for the guy, even if sometimes he acts like an idiot...
Not meaning to rub anyone up the wrong way, just my biased and bigoted opinion as usual.