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Jazz-fusion masters team up

Drum prodigy Virgil Donati to perform in city tonight, teams up with legendary jazz-rock guitarist Allan Holdsworth. The band will also feature the 21-year-old prodigy on keyboards, Austin Peralta and bassist Anthony Crawford.

music Updated: Nov 03, 2011 17:24 IST
Nirmika Singh
Nirmika Singh
Hindustan Times

If you’ve grown up being enamoured by Joe Satriani’s and Steve Vai’s addictive solos on the axe, how would you like watching the man whom these two guitar gods cite as their influence? Tonight, English guitarist Allan Holdsworth will team up with jazz-fusion gurus from around the globe, for a concert that promises more than just listening pleasure for music connoisseurs. Led by the iconic Australian drummer Virgil Donati, the band will also feature the 21-year-old prodigy on keyboards, Austin Peralta and bassist Anthony Crawford.

“I’m thrilled to bring such an amazing line-up to India. Performing with such incredible talent is inspiring and pushes you to your limits, which in turn, intensifies the experience
for the audience as well,” says Donati, who has performed and held drum clinics in India in the past.

With this concert, The Virgil Donati Band will kick-start the Producer Concert and Album Series, conceptualised by composer Sandeep Chowta. The year-long series will feature four performances by four collaborative outfits every quarter. “The idea is to not only have these exceptional musicians perform, but also hold workshops and team up on producing new music,” says Chowta, who recently co-produced and composed a song for American jazz-fusion band Spyro Gyra. In May, this year, Chowta had brought down jazz/blues guitarist Scott Henderson for a concert in the city.

Fast and curious Donati is known for his inimitably fast and highly technical style of drumming, and for holding the sticks in a traditional grip (unlike the matched grip). He currently performs with the instrumental rock/progressive group Planet X and rock outfit Seven The Hard Way.

Regarded as a legend for his unique playing style, ask him how difficult or easy it is to maintain that stature and he replies, “I find it is always a challenge to keep pushing the envelope. It’s about being inspired, and motivated to act on it. I love that aspect of rhythm and drumming that I describe as ordered disorder. It’s about structure — voicing the parts by zoning our limbs. Right now, it’s this that inspires me to forge ahead, finding new ways to order the disorder, and at times, disorder the order.”

Post concert, Donati will head to Bangalore, where he will hold a clinic on November 6. In his message to aspiring drummers, he advises, “The key is to keep searching. We can’t afford to be complacent and think that the present condition is all that exists or will exist. If there was no new ground to break, then we should just throw in our sticks now. We need to keep the momentum moving forward.”

Band trivia
Virgil Donati
53-year-old drummer, drum clinician and producer from Australia. Performs with progressive rock bands Planet X and Seven The Hard Way. Known for fast technical drumming, and holds sticks in a traditional grip.

Allan Holdsworth
65-year-old English guitarist and composer. Guitar gods, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai cite him as their influence. Known for the fluid legato style, while soloing.

Austin Peralta
21-year-old American pianist/keyboardist. Performed at Java Jazz Festival in 2007 at age of 16. He is the son of the Z-Boy skateboarder and film director Stacy Peralta.

Anthony Crawford
30-year-old American bassist. He’s worked with Justin Timberlake, Peabo Bryson, Howard Hewett, Shalamar, Kirk Whalum and Phil Perry.

First Published: Nov 03, 2011 12:27 IST