The Gene Perry Ensemble began building their musical vision and were successful at bringing together Afro-Caribbean and Latin musicians. In 1969 Gene Perry established a dynamic Sunday jam session at the Pepper Grove Park by the Centro Cultural de la Raza in San Diego’s Balboa Park that thrived until 1974. From this group, Gene Perry produced the band “Drums on Fire,” a premier Afro-Caribbean percussion band in San Diego.
Mentors and master congueros, Mongo Santamaria, Ray Barretto, and Patato Valdez, were all solid influences. Perry studied with Mongo Santamaria, a prolific teacher, in 1970. Playing at gatherings, injecting Afro rhythms into the community, Gene Perry Ensemble’s performances have drawn record crowds in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas. The Gene Perry Ensemble interjected their developing passion for style. The ensemble takes great pride and attention to detail with their performance and personal wardrobe as he does with his music.
Performing and recording a range of rhythms from calypso, reggae, salsa, samba, Afro-Cuban, and African Diaspora music speaks to the Gene Perry Ensembles’s extraordinary abilities and wealth of experience. Their diverse musical and social experience has lead to his participation in tours and recording sessions with the traditional Klezmer and Yiddish performer, Yale Strom, and his group, Klazzj.