A BIOGRAPHICAL COMMENTARY
Disclaimer: The reader will consider the complexity in summarizing Hector Cabouli’s more than 40 years of musical background (combined Drums and Piano), in just a few pages. Therefore, many previous experiences and accomplishments in his musical career have been omitted.
Hector was born in Buenos Aires, on January 16, 1951, arriving in New York City shortly before his fifth birthday. Some months later he, his older brother and only sister started piano lessons with a Concert pianist. It wasn’t long before all three played at the famed Carnegie Hall and Hunter College along with other pianists, to be seen and heard by hundreds present! These presentations gave all three a chance to see, first-hand, what it feels like to perform live on stage.
From an early age, Hector would constantly “bang” the piano keys, which never seemed to go unnoticed! Eventually, this led to playing on dinner plates with knives, forks and even spoons! He even added pots and pans driving everyone crazy! It would come to pass that he was developing some sense of rhythm and coordination as well as timing.
By age thirteen, he bought his first Practice Pad and an inexpensive pair of Drumsticks. One day, one of his fellow schoolmates mentioned he was forming a rock and roll band and was seeking a Drummer. Hector had never taken a drum lesson, but he already could read music thanks to his piano background. He auditioned with his Practice Pad!! The boys in the band were stunned to see Hector with a Practice Pad rather than an actual Drum set, but they sensed they had found the “right Drummer”! Thus, Hector was constantly pestering his parents to buy him at least a snare drum; months later, his parents finally agreed to his request.
His first snare drum was a 1965 “Ludwig Jazz Festival” in a beautiful blue sparkle wrap. He also received an inexpensive cymbal and stand – now, Hector was “equipped”. His newly formed band played small gigs – after all, they were just starting out. Then, a second band brought him in but this time it was off to the recording studio. Hector cut his first record at age 14, in the company of musicians three times his senior! He recalls: “Man, was I nervous! The Percussionist, sitting a few feet away from me, told me to relax and just play. I did, and all went well”. Coincidentally, the Drum Set the studio provided was a “Ludwig” just like Hector’s first snare drum. By this time, he was also his junior high school’s lead Drummer, replacing the former one who was “fired”!
After watching “the Beatles” live at Shea Stadium in 1966, Hector decided it would be “Ludwig” his choice for drums and has been ever since. However, his first Drum Set would have to wait nearly two years!
Later that year, his family moved to Los Angeles. Now, in his new hometown, Hector joined a new rock and roll band headed by his older brother (who plays the Bass guitar) and two other members*. They recorded a demo, which never got to have its “15 minutes of glory”. The recording was made at a local studio and Hector was delighted to debut his new “Ludwig” Drum Set purchased just a few weeks earlier complete with “Zildjian” cymbals (he owned this Set for some 12 years until he decided to sell it). In 1969, his family returned to Buenos Aires and there, Hector inquired who was the best Drum teacher around. He was informed Maestro Alberto Alcala was the “father of all Latin Drummers” (the Maestro played with the world’s leading performers). Hector quickly established a rapport with the Maestro and would take lessons with him up to six times a week! The Maestro would take Hector to recording sessions, presentations, gigs, seminars, etc. and literally took Hector “under his wing”. (The late, great Maestro’s picture still hangs on Hector’s wall in his Drum studio – the Maestro passed away in April, 2001).
In January 1970, Hector performed with a trio at a birthday party. A young boy approached him as he was taking his Drum set apart; he wanted to know if Hector could teach him. Hector was delighted to start teaching while being taught himself! In the more than 30 years since, Hector has taught well over 1000 students of all ages and backgrounds, and still does! He continued studying with the Maestro through 1981, when he decided to leave Buenos Aires and settle down in a new town: Honolulu, Hawaii. He lived there for one and a half years, occasionally playing with local musicians. This trained him into a style he was unfamiliar with – Hawaiian music. He eventually moved to Miami where he has been residing ever since.** Here, he started studying Latin grooves, something new to him but equally challenging. Today, Hector teaches his students an array of rhythms ranging from classic rock and roll, to Bossa Nova, jazz, funk, and much more.
Along the way, he met many celebrities and performed in various venues (see “Profile”). He has been on tour many times in several countries.*** Today he is dedicated to preparing the “next generation” of Drummers. He notes: “I love watching my students perform, as well as listening to their recordings, I’m proud of each and everyone of them and I hope they’ll always be the best they can be!”
Hector has written dozens of Drum compositions to share with his students. He trains seven days a week and instills in his students to follow his lead. They admit he is “very strict” but they acknowledge that this is the way it should be! He currently teaches students from well over one dozen different nationalities and many more backgrounds.
Much more could have been written about Hector Cabouli but, as he often says, “the next generation of Drummers will be the ones to write about! But in the meantime, they need to practice, practice, practice!” (Check out his ”Quotable Quotes”)
His influences will always be the greatest Drummers in history – Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, the great Maestro Alberto Alcala, plus other legends both past and present.
* A comment about Hector’s family. The Cabouli family comes from a musical background, his late father played several instruments concentrating on the Piano and his late mother could sing and dance. His older brother is an accomplished Bassist, his sister is a Pianist and Saxophonist, and his younger brother is a Guitarist. Two of his Aunts were Concert musicians, who toured several nations; his nephews have become musicians as well.
** Since he had moved several times throughout the years, many souvenirs and memorabilia, including recordings and photos, were lost along the way never to be recovered.
As a Studio musician, he played the Drums and Percussion on a number of
Recording sessions, both here and abroad.