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  #1  
Old 08-30-2005, 03:40 AM
Adam Adam is offline
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Default Virgil Donati

In terms of being so far ahead of the race, I would definetly say that Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of the modern age. I know this is a bold statement, and I mean it in respects to Buddy Rich, but the thing is as time goes on the drummers are getting better and better and it's slightly niaeve to keep looking back at what HAPPENED when so many new innovations and techniques are happening NOW. That's not to say we shouldn't look back, and keep in mind this IS just my opinion, but I think someone like Virgil, who is the best example of dedication, is leagues beyond anyone else. Guys say he overplays, but I would almost PROMISE you that tons of guys said the same thing about Buddy, and we've even seen it with Weckl, and Coliauta in their time.

Now the question is who's the next Virgil Donati

And I would really rather not make this a huge flame war, and I'm pretty sure I came off too opinionated, so if this thread turns out to be a bad Idea it should probably be deleted.
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  #2  
Old 08-30-2005, 04:21 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

I'll put it this way...Out of everything I've ever been exposed to in drumming (and I've been exposed to alot, drumming is a huge part of my life), past and present Virgil Donati has amazed me the most...Has has everthing i would want in my drumming, a true Master of every phase of drumming...This is my OPINION, and in no way should this be taken as fact...The things he is doing never seemed possible before, and I've never heard so many proffesionals speak so high of one drummer...Quite simply THE MAN!
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  #3  
Old 08-30-2005, 05:46 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Donati: Not much swing/groove, technical, master of sight reading, highly disciplined/learned musician. Same can be said of Thomas Lang and Marco Minnemann.

Rich: Can't read, can swing, prodigy, self-taught

Similarities: Speed, almost total ambidexterity, mastery of instrument

There are some similarities.
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Old 08-30-2005, 08:57 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

There is another thread for this already.

Buddy Rich could read. And it is an insultion for him to be compared to Donati. If you do that, you just donīt seem to know, what Buddy was all about: Feel
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  #5  
Old 08-30-2005, 09:18 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

I think a major difference is that I've never seen any video of Buddy playing something that's arguably just plain bad. About 50% of any given Donati video I've seen has seemed uncertain, not quite "cooked" yet, and often very mathematical. It kind of sounds like he's worked out a part on paper then learned to play it, but it's not quite something he's totally in control of yet - certainly not something he's making a musical choice about. The only time he seems truly comfortable is when he dives off into blazing chops, which he does with alarming regularity. Every time he comes back to one of his opposing meter grooves it just sounds forced - like he only learned the groove as an excuse to play the fills. Of the guys I've seen doing this stuff, I like his approach the least. Thomas Lang wipes the floor with him, and he's not really my cup of tea either.

I don't get why people think he has such great technique, too. He strikes me more as somebody who achieves results in spite of his hand technique than because of it, look at the way he kills the rebound on his toms strokes!
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  #6  
Old 08-30-2005, 09:31 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sticktrick
There is another thread for this already.

Buddy Rich could read. And it is an insultion for him to be compared to Donati. If you do that, you just donīt seem to know, what Buddy was all about: Feel
According to "Traps the drum wonder" By Mel Torme, and the Buddy Rich DVD I have, both say Buddy didn't read music. He played by ear.
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  #7  
Old 08-30-2005, 09:57 AM
Mitzos Mitzos is offline
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

buddy, my thinkin is that its just his style of playin, when hes playin his grooves hes probably deep in thought due to there complexity. so when he is able to get into his chops and soloing it requires less concentration and he feels more comfortable . as well thomas lang is a drumming genius. like virgil he amazes me. but ur rite he looks alot more comfortable playing his drums. (compared to virgil)
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  #8  
Old 08-30-2005, 10:43 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

i've said it before. comparing drummers is like comparing painters. it only really makes sense to compare contemporaries within broadly defined genres. virgil has indirectly or directly benefitted from the exsistence of buddy. as newton said: he has risen to new heights because he climbed on the shoulders of giants.

compare virgil to thomas lang.
compare buddy to gene krupa or ed shaugnessy.
that's fair.

as for the whole premise for this thread. i don't think there can be a single 'buddy rich' in our time. the feild is way to broad to make such a sweeping statement. aren't dennis, bozzio, lang, etc etc etc the buddy's of our time? i think guys like buddy and krupa were the first super star drummers. now there are literally hundereds.

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  #9  
Old 08-30-2005, 10:47 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

OK maybe your right about the reading. I thought as a big band drummer he had to read a lot, cause thats standard. Also I know the drummer of his band very well since I took lessons with him (Tony Insalaco - great guy and great drummer). He can read about anything at sight and said he learned that in buddys band. (you have to know that buddy was the leader of the band and didnīt play the drums himself on all tunes. he would usually have someone else play and only come up to solo). So maybe he could read, but he didnīt do it because he had such a good memory that he could easily remember all the hits.

Still my point that the comparison is an insultion (big time) is untouched by that.
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  #10  
Old 08-30-2005, 11:34 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sticktrick
OK maybe your right about the reading. I thought as a big band drummer he had to read a lot, cause thats standard. Also I know the drummer of his band very well since I took lessons with him (Tony Insalaco - great guy and great drummer). He can read about anything at sight and said he learned that in buddys band. (you have to know that buddy was the leader of the band and didnīt play the drums himself on all tunes. he would usually have someone else play and only come up to solo). So maybe he could read, but he didnīt do it because he had such a good memory that he could easily remember all the hits.

Still my point that the comparison is an insultion (big time) is untouched by that.
As far as I could tell from watching him and reading about him, he had a photographic memory for music and a incomperable feel. There are a few tunes that he really overdid it, burying the tune under too much drumwork. (IE Birdland)

But it's not an insult to compare them. As Nutha Jason pointed out, it's like comparing painters. Both masters of thier own genre. Claude Monet was no Rembrandt, and vice versa.
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  #11  
Old 08-30-2005, 04:09 PM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

I don't think there is much to compare in my opinion. Donati has no charisma as a person or as a drummer. I think more people can identitfy with Buddy because he was a showman. I feel that Buddy wasn't out to conquer the drums and play drum paterns at rediculous BPM and such. Buddy was interested at entertaining a crowd his entertainment was his instrument. He could entertain nondrummers. I find Virgil's appeal more to musicians . Also I find some of the music that Virgil plays is overproduced and out right boring. I can listen to big bands. I find it hard to listen to a bunch of virutosos noodling around personally. Yes they are good musicians but it seems they only make music that doesn't appeal to the masses.
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  #12  
Old 08-30-2005, 05:28 PM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

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).

buddy rich was heavily invovled in contributing to music, and it just so happens that his technical proficiency communicated rhythm and feel. when he played drums, he could lay back and have even a drummer's ear listen to other instruments. but when he started to swing, or just plain rip it up, you would see everyone's heads bobbing (and of course mouths dropping).

virgil is a breathtaking drummer that deserves a considerable amount of respect. you can say he's mastered the drums. but ultimately the only people who will enjoy him are the ones who are intrigued by technical proficiency, and those people most likely are technically proficient to some degree themselves.

i dunno, there's no right or wrong to this issue of comparison. my opinion is that buddy rich not only was a virtuoso but a great musician .

as for today's buddy rich? nobody grooves as uniquely and as heavily today as zach hill (of hella). he's probably in the same boat as virgil donati (b/c he will never become popular, the music is just too much for most people)... but his tecnicality is extremely and subtly connected to the music around him. he cannot read music, never took a lesson, is in his mid 20's, yet will amaze and entertain, as buddy rich did, any body who is there watching him.

of course as always everybody reading this will look over my ulterior motive (trying to introduce you all to a very new prodigy, unlike any other drummer), and shoot right to whether or not i'm gonna piss them off by my stance on this issue... just go off on a limb and check out someone who could very well change your whole perspective of the possibilities of drumming.
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  #13  
Old 08-30-2005, 05:54 PM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

No way. I know this whole thing isn't fair but I have to respond. These drummers are VERY different. Donati plays COMPLEX patterns and does not play with the swing
of a Buddy Rich. Point blank: Buddy had more control, speed, fire, etc....
Nothing against Virgil but there is no comparison.
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Old 08-30-2005, 07:46 PM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Quote:
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.
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  #15  
Old 08-30-2005, 08:07 PM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark
No way. I know this whole thing isn't fair but I have to respond. These drummers are VERY different. Donati plays COMPLEX patterns and does not play with the swing
of a Buddy Rich. Point blank: Buddy had more control, speed, fire, etc....
Nothing against Virgil but there is no comparison.
I would say Virgil could probably get up to BR's speed.....
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  #16  
Old 08-30-2005, 09:04 PM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lambo
I would say Virgil could probably get up to BR's speed.....

No offense, but I don't think speed is the issue it's feel and showmanship, Feel being something that Virgil Lacks. I think that speed is something that can be mstered easier these days... look at the WFD competitions you got guys who you have never heard of scoring pretty high in the speed category. The drummers mentioned above have speed.
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Old 08-30-2005, 09:46 PM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Sorry to be off-topic a little, just wanted to thank fkleiner for recognising Zach Hill of Hella as one of the true virtuosos of our time - i totally agree that he shows shades of BR in bringing muscality and insane technicality together successfully.
To all Donati fans, check this guy out- it's truly another level.
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  #18  
Old 08-31-2005, 12:45 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBlueTrain
I totally have to agree, I think Donati is the man, along with that drummer from Invein

hahahaha, you assclown
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  #19  
Old 08-31-2005, 12:51 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Quote:
Originally Posted by finnhiggins
I think a major difference is that I've never seen any video of Buddy playing something that's arguably just plain bad. About 50% of any given Donati video I've seen has seemed uncertain, not quite "cooked" yet, and often very mathematical. It kind of sounds like he's worked out a part on paper then learned to play it, but it's not quite something he's totally in control of yet - certainly not something he's making a musical choice about. The only time he seems truly comfortable is when he dives off into blazing chops, which he does with alarming regularity. Every time he comes back to one of his opposing meter grooves it just sounds forced - like he only learned the groove as an excuse to play the fills. Of the guys I've seen doing this stuff, I like his approach the least. Thomas Lang wipes the floor with him, and he's not really my cup of tea either.

I don't get why people think he has such great technique, too. He strikes me more as somebody who achieves results in spite of his hand technique than because of it, look at the way he kills the rebound on his toms strokes!
I don't really believe you've ever actually heard virgil then. His hand technique is the best I think I've ever seen, and just look at how fast/controlled/PERFECT his rudiment playing is.
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Old 08-31-2005, 02:09 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Yeah...I somehow get the feeling that most people who are questioning Virgil's "feel" or "capacity to play in the pocket" just really are not familliar with the majority of his work...Feel and Time is one of my favorite things about him...
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  #21  
Old 08-31-2005, 02:38 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam
I don't really believe you've ever actually heard virgil then. His hand technique is the best I think I've ever seen, and just look at how fast/controlled/PERFECT his rudiment playing is.
Why is it that you guys always fall back on this one? "Oh, you must not have heard him". Read my posting history. Do I look like I regularly launch into opinions on drummers without bothering to listen to them? I might not like a lot of choppy guys, but I've at least listened to a good cross-section of their output to come to that opinion. And every time one of you guys comes out with this and then posts a video or something to watch it does nothing but re-enforce my impressions of the guy.

Yes, I've listened to Virgil. I bought a Planet X album. I've watched probably about half of what is out there to buy in terms of video footage. And I really, really think he's quite poor beyond his amazing fast chops. His part selection just makes me want to cringe. Do me a favour, if you're a Donati fan can you please, please invest in a copy of Drumkit From Hell and spend about six months programming up every uber-technical polyrhythmic groove that you can imagine? It'll be educational on two fronts:

1) The programmed ones will have a similar feel to what you hear from Donati, but with a bit more consistency and confidence.
2) You'll discover that maybe 95% of the possible complex "intellectualised" multi-polyrhythmic prog grooves and ostinatos actually sound like crap when it comes to listening to them as music. They lack musical shape, any conception of tension and release just gets jumbled up in complex co-ordination. Latin ostinatos and soloing works not because it has fifty million independent syncopated parts going at once, but because there's some core rhythmic logic behind the construction of those grooves, not just "Hey, I wonder what five plus seven plus eleven would sound like....". Where's the tension and release in that, other than whatever chance throws your way in the interplay of pure numbers?

Now, that's not to say that the other 5% that works well isn't amazing to hear, but like anything else in music it's the exception rather than the rule if you just pick things at random. Grant Collins is quite good at picking parts, he just suffers from excessive chops syndrome a bit. Fredrik Thordendal does a good job with the stuff he programs for Thomas Haake in Meshuggah. But Virgil Donati's parts... they just sound amateurish to my ears, like the early experiments you make when you start playing with that material in a sequencer. I'll forgive Thomas Lang for some of his more unmusical stuff on his DVD because he promotes them as co-ordination exercises and plays quite differently from that when he's actually performing. But Virgil... no. Can't stand it.

Oh, and yes, he has very fast hands. I just don't think his actual physical technique is as pristine as you guys would like to make out, it's quite heavy and unweildy at times. As I mentioned before, watch his hands when he goes to the toms and see how low he kills the rebound. That's a helluva lot of lifting he's doing there, folks. He's just practiced it enough that he's got it fast.
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Old 08-31-2005, 03:36 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Finn, Remember these are your OPINIONS and not facts...As a suggestion I would go beyond planet X albums to explore Donati...For instance check out his work with CAB and the Virgil Donati Band...They are far far different than Planet X...

But Finn, i would like to say that stating something so profound as Donati's playing is "amature" maybe the highest point of arrogance I've ever experienced in the drum or music community...Seriously, i don't think you would say that to his face or in a room full of professional drummers...But you are entitled to your OPINIONS...You must be really really really really really good at drums...Any video or audio, you could share with us?
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Old 08-31-2005, 04:55 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Leaping to Finn's defense (not that he needs it...)
I don't believe Finn said his opinion was a fact.... However, it is an opinion that is among the most educated and well regarded around here, because he's a smart guy as well as a really good drummer!
Besides he didn't say Virgil's playing in general was "amateurish", just certain parts. He gives damn good reasons for why they are, and I tend to agree. Perhaps if you refuted one or two of his arguments with some reasonable arguments, we might be getting somewhere....
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Old 08-31-2005, 05:02 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Quote:
Originally Posted by toteman2
But Finn, i would like to say that stating something so profound as Donati's playing is "amature" maybe the highest point of arrogance I've ever experienced in the drum or music community...Seriously, i don't think you would say that to his face or in a room full of professional drummers...But you are entitled to your OPINIONS...You must be really really really really really good at drums...Any video or audio, you could share with us?
Goody, now we get phase II: "Oh, then you can do better?". Do you guys have a procedure book you work out of? Every single thread like this goes exactly the same way.

Let's dig out the regular rote response: Read my post! No, of course I can't do better on a choppy level, why do you think that's him on the cover of MD and not me? That's maybe why I didn't say his *playing* was amateurish, as it's very obviously not. I don't like it very much, but it's certainly professional.

However, I do think his part selection is amateurish, particularly the grooves he uses in his soloing approach. If I sit down with a sequencer then it's relatively easy to come up with parts that sound like what Donati does - they're just not any good. They're bastard hard to play, but since when was that any measure of merit for a musical part?

If you take away the factor that makes Donati's achievements notable - the physical realm - and reduce his playing to notes in a sequencer then I fail to see what is good about it whatsoever. Can you explain to me why Donati's parts would be excellent if you programmed them instead of him playing them? That's what I mean about poor part selection. If it wouldn't be impressive as drum programming, why would a metronomic live performance suddenly make it that much better? If it would be impressive as programming work (where co-ordinational challenges don't apply, so we don't have to worry about how hard he's worked on that), I'm obviously missing it and need you to explain to me what's so profound about it.

As for the aforementioned room full of professionals, I can tell you for a fact that at least one of the people with a page of their own on Drummerworld refers to him as "Virgin Donati". I've hardly been that scathing. I won't name names though.
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Old 08-31-2005, 05:16 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Besides he didn't say Virgil's playing in general was "amateurish", just certain parts. He gives damn good reasons for why they are, and I tend to agree...

What were the good reasons describing why his playing is amature? I saw two things decscribing why he doesn't like his parts, but not expressing why they are amature...I don't think i ever stated Finn's opinions are not educated or well regaurded because i know he is a very knowledgable drummer, just very arrogant when it comes to drummers who show off chops and complexity...
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Old 08-31-2005, 05:54 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Virgil is a phenomenal drummer - chops, speed, coordination, you name it.

But, if you're talking about who might resemble Buddy's playing today, I wouldn't say Virgil - I would say Art Verdi. If you saw his videos, he's one of the guys who looks like he's in fast foward motion - like Buddy looked. Intense hand/arm speed.

If you mean The Buddy of today as far as standing out and being far above drummers of today, it's possible. But I might add a few other drummers too. Good thread.
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Old 08-31-2005, 06:47 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superlow
I don't think there is much to compare in my opinion. Donati has no charisma as a person or as a drummer.
+1 Buddy had feeling and emotion behind what he was playing. Virgil IMO, like alot of "chops" drummers today that I won't bother mentioning, is cold and emotionless. Its drummers like him that make me honestly appreciate a nice laid back groove, regardless of how simple. Chops is a good thing, but if you can't put something meaningful behind it, what's the point?
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Old 08-31-2005, 07:25 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Quote:
Can you explain to me why Donati's parts would be excellent if you programmed them instead of him playing them? That's what I mean about poor part selection. If it wouldn't be impressive as drum programming, why would a metronomic live performance suddenly make it that much better? If it would be impressive as programming work (where co-ordinational challenges don't apply, so we don't have to worry about how hard he's worked on that), I'm obviously missing it and need you to explain to me what's so profound about it.

I'm really not sure what you're getting at here...I guess in a way you could argue any drummers parts would be excellent if programmed...I would much much rather have Virgil playing the parts...If it wasn't him playing it, it just wouldn't be the same in the slightest...He gives the notes life, power, musicality, dynamics, everything they need to make him sound the way he does, which to me is very distinct...You can't give a computer his feel, or anticipation of time and groove...

I mean would you want to hear this programmed instead of him playing it?
http://www.virgildonati.com/videos/h...nd92304_02.wmv


He is adding so much color, flavor, and raw emotion to compliment the keyboardists solo, while keeping perfect time, something a computer could never capture...They just look like they are having so much fun, feeding off one another...True showcase of musicianship IMO...
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Old 08-31-2005, 09:07 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

The basis of this argument seems to be again, technical drumming vs "feel" and "groove"

And a lot of assumptions on the part of Donati. People are placing a cap, a limit if you will on his scope of abilities.

If you know Virgil personally, and have personally evaluated his groove and feel in person (outside of clinics) and maybe listened to something he did that was supposed to have the same "feel and "groove" of Buddy's material, then I'd buy some of the anti-Donati arguments.

But to say Virgil "can't" A. B. C. is to say you know him so well, that you can make that call. The only factual part of that argument against him is that you don't normally see him demonstrate that side of drumming.

The two camps here (Rich vs Donati) are polarized over technical vs swing drumming, and it seems like the anti-Donati crowd just don't like him, or the technical aspects no matter how you slice it.

But again, Stevie Vai, Planet x etc aren't exactly Funk or jazz...
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  #30  
Old 08-31-2005, 10:07 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

I think Virgil can put on a decent show, tell me whats so terrible about this clip
http://www.virgildonati.com/videos/g3soloend.wmv
I dont think a drum machine would do better, he puts on a show. All we have heard on this thread is hot air, Buddy vs Donati. Here is a piece of evidence that i think supports the argument that Donati is the Buddy of our time.

BTW I agree with Nutha that you cant really compare the two, but instead of all this crap talking heres something to watch.
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Old 08-31-2005, 02:00 PM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Quote:
Originally Posted by toteman2
I'm really not sure what you're getting at here...I guess in a way you could argue any drummers parts would be excellent if programmed...
No, you couldn't. Programmed stuff sounds stiff and nasty unless you work on it very hard, but it tends to show up good parts from bad in a musical context very well. A good drummer can make an average part sound better, but a great drummer chooses a great part and then takes it even further with dynamics, subtle timing nuances etc. The obvious example here would be somebody like Steve Gadd.

My issue with Donati is that in his soloing he very frequently plays complex mixed-meter grooves. Those kind of things are potentially very interesting, but unless you're careful they can turn into a structureless mess. Add in the fact that the independent parts each have to make sense and you want to avoid flamming on unisons tends to force that kind of playing into very metronomic time. So for those parts, I ask the question - if it wasn't hard to do, would it be good? I don't think so. I'd rather hear something like Nat Townsley's stuff on Drummerworld, it's got groove as well as chops and it makes musical sense.

Quote:
I mean would you want to hear this programmed instead of him playing it?
http://www.virgildonati.com/videos/h...nd92304_02.wmv

He is adding so much color, flavor, and raw emotion to compliment the keyboardists solo, while keeping perfect time, something a computer could never capture...They just look like they are having so much fun, feeding off one another...True showcase of musicianship IMO...
That's a lot better. It's not my cup of tea for the same reason that I'm not a big Weckl fan, but I can respect that kind of playing in that it's actually got musical structure. But things like the solo performance somebody posted over in the other Virgil Donati thread... Urk. The problem is, much of the stuff he does seems to present that kind of approach to time playing in the solos. It was also all over the Planet X album I had. That really does make me question his musicality quite seriously, because if he was the consumate musician people seem to be claiming him as in this thread then surely he'd notice that... well... that stuff just aint that hot.

I'm not disputing his playing from a drummer's perspective, I'm doing it from the POV of somebody who has done a lot of drum programming and played seriously around with a lot of those concepts in sequencers. Some things work. Some things don't. Donati seems to use both approaches liberally and with no obvious understanding of which is which, as long as the part looks difficult. That's not my idea of musicality. Go check out some of Fredrik Thordendal's drum programming, particularly the new Meshuggah album. He's done a good job of solidifying a recognisable musical style in his approach to polyrhythmic/polymetric material. That stuff is cool regardless of whether he gets Thomas Haake to play it live or if they just run with the programmed parts on the album. I'm not sure Donati would be so well-loved if he just programmed his solos and released them as compositions, while I'm pretty sure that a lot of Max Roach's stuff ("The drum also waltzes", etc) would still pass muster because it has a comprehensible musical structure beyond just chops and amazing co-ordination.

Again - would Donati's solos be good if they weren't hard? Would they be better than, say, "let there be drums" - which is very easy, but has such unusual musical concepts as hooks, catchy phrases and song structure.
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Old 08-31-2005, 02:02 PM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Quote:
Originally Posted by toteman2
I'm really not sure what you're getting at here...I guess in a way you could argue any drummers parts would be excellent if programmed...
No, you couldn't. Programmed stuff sounds stiff and nasty unless you work on it very hard, but it tends to show up good parts from bad in a musical context very well. A good drummer can make an average part sound a lot better, but a great drummer chooses a great part and then takes it even further with dynamics, subtle timing nuances etc. The obvious example here would be somebody like Steve Gadd.

My issue with Donati is that in his soloing he very frequently plays complex mixed-meter grooves. Those kind of things are potentially very interesting, but unless you're careful they can turn into a structureless mess. Add in the fact that the independent parts each have to make sense and you want to avoid flamming on unisons tends to force that kind of playing into very metronomic time. So for those parts, I ask the question - if it wasn't hard to do, would it be good? I don't think so. I'd rather hear something like Nat Townsley's stuff on Drummerworld, it's got groove as well as chops and it makes musical sense.

Quote:
I mean would you want to hear this programmed instead of him playing it?
http://www.virgildonati.com/videos/h...nd92304_02.wmv

He is adding so much color, flavor, and raw emotion to compliment the keyboardists solo, while keeping perfect time, something a computer could never capture...They just look like they are having so much fun, feeding off one another...True showcase of musicianship IMO...
That's a lot better. It's not my cup of tea for the same reason that I'm not a big Weckl fan, but I can respect that kind of playing in that it's actually got musical structure. But things like the solo performance somebody posted over in the other Virgil Donati thread... Urk. The problem is, much of the stuff he does seems to present that kind of approach to time playing in the solos. It was also all over the Planet X album I had. That really does make me question his musicality quite seriously, because if he was the consumate musician people seem to be claiming him as in this thread then surely he'd notice that... well... that stuff just aint that hot.

I'm not disputing his playing from a drummer's perspective, I'm doing it from the POV of somebody who has done a lot of drum programming and played seriously around with a lot of those concepts in sequencers. Some things work. Some things don't. Donati seems to use both approaches liberally and with no obvious understanding of which is which, as long as the part looks difficult. That's not my idea of musicality. Go check out some of Fredrik Thordendal's drum programming, particularly the new Meshuggah album. He's done a good job of solidifying a recognisable musical style in his approach to polyrhythmic/polymetric material. That stuff is cool regardless of whether he gets Thomas Haake to play it live or if they just run with the programmed parts on the album. I'm not sure Donati would be so well-loved if he just programmed his solos and released them as compositions, while I'm pretty sure that a lot of Max Roach's stuff ("The drum also waltzes", etc) would still pass muster because it has a comprehensible musical structure beyond just chops and amazing co-ordination.

Again - would Donati's solos be good if they weren't hard? Would they be better than, say, "let there be drums" - which is very easy, but has such unusual musical concepts as hooks, catchy phrases and song structure.
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  #33  
Old 08-31-2005, 02:15 PM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

great post finn.
i'm in agreement. i like simple musical solos with occasional flare rather than all flare solos with occasional musicality. one has only to look at the drum battle between weckl gadd and coulita on DW to see what i mean. weckl and coulita are flaring a lot... and then gadd comes in with a lovely groove (not simple, mind you) but in the context of what was comming before it is like a breath of fresh air.

the way i picture it, if you don't mind the spacial analogy, all the possible things that can be done on drums are like a vast flat plane. in the very center are the basic grooves like four-on-the-floor and clasical jazz riding. this is the green oasis. around these are ever more interesting but less used grooves, rudiments and figures. as we walk out of the oasis the trees of useful drumming ideas thin out into the grass and bush of the extraordinary and then into the wasteland of what is possible but not necessarily loveable. guys like virgil and bozzio are the explorers in the desert. they make tracks into the unknown and increase the realm of the oasis but they don't always find diamonds and water. it is nice to know that they are out there but better to watch them slogging in the sand from the cool of the trees. where they go others follow and plant but the further from the oasis the less likely that the harvest will grow healthy.

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Old 08-31-2005, 03:48 PM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Quote:
Originally Posted by toteman2
Finn, Remember these are your OPINIONS and not facts...As a suggestion I would go beyond planet X albums to explore Donati...For instance check out his work with CAB and the Virgil Donati Band...They are far far different than Planet X...

I am sorry I have heard CAB and the VD band, it's nothing you can bob your head to... it's people over playing. Cheesey synth, a guitar player shredding, unnecessary drum soloing, they left that stuff in the 80's for a reason.
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Old 08-31-2005, 04:54 PM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

I can say I've seen quite a bit of old Virgil and his playing does nothing for me personally.To liken him to buddy is a bold statement! If you want drummers overplaying on really crap muso music,John Blackwell jr. is much more human/inspiring/exciting. As for crappy muso music,I tend to stick well clear of it! Give me Nirvana (easy drums),The smiths (easy drums) and The stone roses (easy-ish drums) any day of the week.

Last edited by DogBreath; 01-28-2006 at 10:16 AM. Reason: Edited for inappropriate language
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  #36  
Old 09-01-2005, 12:49 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superlow
I am sorry I have heard CAB and the VD band, it's nothing you can bob your head to... it's people over playing. Cheesey synth, a guitar player shredding, unnecessary drum soloing, they left that stuff in the 80's for a reason.

I guess I'm sorry, because I love that stuff...I like seeing musicians go nuts...IT moves me, and excites me...Now if you don't like that kind of stuff, then cool...But lots and lots and lots of people LOVE that stuff...It's an inspiration...While you may see this stuff as UNNECESSARY, thats just YOU...Others tend to totaly disagree...There is no right or wrong way of looking at it...All thats important is what makes YOU want to listen or watch...Alot of muscians prefer to challenge themselves and make things unpredictable and interesting...I don't think i would still be playing drums at the rate i do, if i didn't want to challenge myself, and maybe play things that some would call unesscessarty...And no, most songs by CAB or VD Band are not the usual tap your foot, easy listening, 4/4 time stuff...They try to offer somthing unusual, and complex...IMO, it's fantastic...
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Old 09-01-2005, 12:59 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Quote:
. i like simple musical solos with occasional flare rather than all flare solos with occasional musicality.

See this just where we differ...When i go to see a drum solo or clinic, I want the dude to go completley NUTS, showing off chops, independence, power, dynmanics, flare, and showmanship...I don't want to see anything "simple", because i can entertain myself doing things simple...I like to be blown away by solos, it's just how i see things...When we get inside a song, that totally changes...
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Old 09-01-2005, 01:41 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Quote:
Originally Posted by toteman2
See this just where we differ...When i go to see a drum solo or clinic, I want the dude to go completley NUTS, showing off chops, independence, power, dynmanics, flare, and showmanship...I don't want to see anything "simple", because i can entertain myself doing things simple...I like to be blown away by solos, it's just how i see things...When we get inside a song, that totally changes...
Question: How old are you? I ask because back when I was maybe eighteen, nineteen or so I used to think like this too. Drumming was still new, and I was exploring the world of virtuoso playing for the first time, etc etc. So each new amazing drummer I saw was pulling out these blazing chops, and I couldn't even imagine how you'd get to be able to play like that etc etc. Blew me away.

Flash forward a few years. Now when I see a solo like that it's a bit more like "double kick rudiments... check.... fast singles... check... oh look... a polyrhythm....". You see? After you see enough of that stuff it turns into a checklist and really stops being in any way exciting.

The way I see it, music is like a language. You try to express something through what you play, and if you're any good then the audience feels it. Now, imagine you're learning a new language - say you're not a native English speaker. Initially, if you see a book or article written by somebody and it uses lots of long words and complex sentences... you're impressed. You think... "Wow, this guy really knows all the grammar rules and he's got a huge vocabulary". Because all of that stuff looks so daunting and far away it makes you grant an automatic degree of respect and authority to what's being said. But once you get a better grasp of the language and reading becomes easier to you, you start to realise that simplicity is maybe a better way to get the message across. Look at George Orwell - the language is not that complicated, but it's amazingly good writing. Equally, there's many lousy writers like me - lots of long words, huge sentences, but actually not saying a whole lot for the amount they write. I can type real fast, but that's because it takes me ages to say something. I suspect George Orwell could have done this post in about three short sentences and said as much.

Imagine somebody making a speech. Are you more impressed by the guy who can talk so fast that you get a headache trying to keep up, or is the guy who speaks slowly, precisely and clearly for the same amount of time and gets the same amount said doing the better job as an orator? Sure, having precise ability to execute the physical movements to get the words out is important. But who cares if the content is just gibberish, being delivered with virtuosic speed and power?

So for me, I'm not automatically impressed by chops anymore. I work on them, but the more I work on them the more I realise that getting better on that front is just a matter of putting in more work. Once your hand technique is good enough you can make a whole lot of improvements while you're half asleep and not really paying attention - you just keep running the drills. I don't feel as proud of my technical achievements as I do of my musical ones, on the rare occasion that something cool turns up. For every fill I've done with big tom rolls, I'm usually more impressed on playback with the time I just did the same fill with one hi-hat accent and a syncopation in the bass drum. So my perception of soloing and virtuosic playing has changed accordingly as I've matured on the instrument. I'm hardly a good musician yet, but if I want to get there then the path from where I am now is probably not more technique, it's more understanding of structure, time and tone and how to build something communicative with that. In comparison to that, chops is really pretty easy to work on.
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Old 09-01-2005, 02:38 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

Finn, I'm never going to post anything again, that was beautiful *tear*.
Seriously, that summed it all up very eloquently, and I happen to completely believe in what you're saying. I'm glad I'm in the right headspace now at 18 as compared to five years down the road. Now if only I can get my chops up....
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Old 09-01-2005, 02:54 AM
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Default Re: Virgil Donati is the Buddy Rich of our time ("IMO"...I suppose)

And that, Finny, is why people are so in love with Gadd. He's got to be the grooviest white guy that ever touched the earth, and just cos his "chops" are not quite as up to standard as the next guy's, is, well, irrelevent. The guy's a genius...

And to stay on topic, i really dont have much to say to "compare" Virg and Buddy. Donati is one of my ABSOLUTE favourite drummers, without a doubt, and i must say i'm not the biggest Buddy fan, but they're just in different leagues. And anyway, i'm too in love with Vinnie (his playing!) to really diverge... lol
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