German native PiTTi Hecht took up percussion in 1978, influenced by The Beatles, Santana, Nippy Noya, Paulinho DaCosta, Dr. Gibbs, and Earth, Wind & Fire. A couple of events stand out as catalysts in his memory: "There was an LP clinic in Berlin with Lenny Castro and Joey Heredia. Also, a live recording with Grover Washington got my attention because of the variety of sounds of percussion instruments."
PiTTi approached players from Trinidad, Africa, Puerto Rica, and India for lessons, so to experience many different styles. He admits, "I like Soul music the best, but I listen to many different bands. I liked the Alan Parsons Project and Mike Oldfield for all the sounds they used. With LP and Martin Cohen there was a deep tradition of looking for these sounds". In fact, PiTTi admits, it's not styles but sounds that matter: "I enjoyed playing on the Scorpions record as much as with Randy Crawford." His biography also lists T.M. Stevens, The Look, and Los Tumpolos.
"I love playing drumset," says PiTTi, "but these days I tend to play more percussion. There's more freedom." Sometimes he mixes both disciplines behind a custom percussion kit including bass, snare, and toms that he can play standing.
At one point in his life, PiTTi asked Martin Cohen for a contact in Los Angeles. As it turned out, "Richie Gajate Garcia invited me to sessions there and to join him with a band. That's how I got to know Tris Imboden and others. I think they liked the way I would fit as a percussionist into what the drummer was playing. It's so easy playing with professionals who understand the groove. I felt like I was walking on a cloud!"
Back in Germany, PiTTi gets hired as a special guest to "spice up" a concert. "With my background," he claims, "I can walk into many situations without rehearsal and add something to a band."
Although his first LP instrument was the Afuche Cabasa, he has a soft spot for the tambourine - possibly due to the Beatles influence - and uses several models from the LP catalog. PiTTi also enjoys LP Black Beauty Cowbells for their identifiable tone and rigid construction.
Incidentally, PiTTi Hecht holds a Guiness Book record for playing percussion while deep sea diving! Future plans include a book with an instructional video.