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Settling in the San Diego area Gene began building on his musical vision and was successful at bringing together Afro-Caribbean and Latin musicians. In 1969 he 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 produced the band “Drums on Fire,” a premier Afro-Caribbean percussion band in San Diego. 

Mentors and master congueros, Mongo SantamariaRay 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, Perry’s performances have drawn record crowds in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas. Gene also interjected his developing passion for style. He takes great pride and attention to detail with his 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 Perry’s extraordinary abilities and wealth of experience. His diverse musical and social experience have lead to his participation in tours and recording sessions with the traditional Klezmer and Yiddish performer, Yale Strom and his group, Klazzj.