drummer Virgil DonatiMD recently connected with drumming great Virgil Donati to catch up on his slew of current activities, including new CD and DVD releases, international touring, and his recent MD readers poll award for best clinician. We also asked Virg for his thoughts on the current state of prog rock.

“Today, progressive music seems to be ‘progressing’ along more diverse paths than ever before,” Donati insists. “Much of it is vocal, and some instrumental; some predominantly rock-oriented, and some leans to the fusion side; some is contemporary and some is retro. Progressive to me implies a certain questioning, and an attempt at moving the lines–finding ‘your own’ way. I’m not convinced we come close to the heyday of progressive, though, with bands like Yes, Genesis, ELP, U.K., and King Crimson.

Quantum is the latest release from Planet X,” Donati says of the border-expanding band. “This is hardcore progressive instrumental music, slightly biased towards the fusion side. I would call it ‘heavy fusion.’ There are many interesting and unique grooves on this record, but the highlight for me is the incredible level of performance these great musicians brought to the music.”

Donati also recently released a solo drumming DVD, Live In Stockholm, which features four full-length solos, with the main feature shot at the Stockholm Drum & Bass Festival. According to the drummer, “There are now many renowned drum festivals held all over the world; these have given drummers a stage on which to express themselves as soloists. I’m convinced this is making a huge contribution to the development of the art of drumming. I simply wanted to put this collection out there for posterity, as a record of some of my best solo performances captured over the past few years. This is available only through my site, www.virgildonati.com.”

Mike Haid