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Gene Perla

Gene Perla

Bass, Keyboard, Composer, Arranger, Orchestrator, Conductor

Gene Perla has performed and/or recorded with many great musicians including Elvin Jones, Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone, Stan Getz, Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Big Band, Sonny Rollins, Stone Alliance and others.

Equally at home on upright or electric bass, he likes to play all types of music and has found in Scott Neumann a soul brother who feels equally comfortable in playing jazz, Latin, pop, rock, funk and free.


Gene grew up in northeastern New Jersey and began his musical studies at age five with classical piano lessons. His first jazz influence was Nat “King” Cole. In high school he played the trombone and sang in various choral groups. While attending the University of Toledo as an engineering and business major, he heard pianist Bill Evans which prompted him to return to music by enrolling in the Berklee School of Music. He then became inspired to play bass after hearing Charlie Haden, and soon thereafter he began to perform professionally.

In 1966, Gene moved back to the New York City area and landed his first major gig with The Willie Bobo Sextet. In that group was Carlos “Patato” Valdez the famed Cuban conga player. Next came the bands of Nina Simone, Woody Herman, Sarah Vaughan, Elvin Jones, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis and Sonny Rollins. During this period he formed the P. M. Records label, and with keyboardist Jan Hammer he founded Red Gate Recording Studio. With drummer/percussionist Don Alias and saxophonist Steve Grossman, Stone Alliance was born. This group traveled to three continents and recorded four albums.

Since 1983, Gene has concentrated on careers as an educator, currently at Lehigh University, theatrical sound designer, NYC recording studio owner, Internet specialist, and the Plug Records label. In returning to music, he has formed an association with his old friend Bobby Kapp from the Berklee School days. Together, they are exploring the authentic history of “fine wine” jazz.

“Gene Perla has been important to jazz not only as a bassist but as the owner of two record labels. Perla studied as a pianist at the Berklee College of Music and the Boston Conservatory of Music. He eventually switched to bass and picked up notable experience with Woody Herman’s Orchestra (1969-70), the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, Sarah Vaughan, Elvin Jones (1971-73) and Sonny Rollins. In the mid-1970’s Perla formed the PM (Perla Music) label and a little later also ran Plug; among the musicians that he recorded were Dave Liebman, Elvin Jones, Steve Grossman, Pat LaBarbera and (for Plug) Jerry Bergonzi among others. Perla formed the group Stone Alliance (which also included Grossman and percussionist Don Alias) in 1975 and has remained quite active as both a bassist and as a jazz educator up to the present time. ”

– Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

Gene Perla earned a BA in Music from Thomas Edison University. He was raised in New Jersey where he studied piano and trombone. After attending Berklee School of Music he moved to New York and began his musical career as a jazz bassist. He has performed and/or recorded with Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Elvin Jones, Chuck Mangione, Joni Mitchell, Buddy Rich, Sonny Rollins, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Stone Alliance, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson, and others. In the early 1970’s he formed music publishing and record companies, and his group the Stone Alliance traveled to South America and Europe which gave him experience in management and booking. Other efforts include Broadway sound design and recording studio operations. He is currently playing his basses, producing records, running an Internet design and hosting company, and teaches at Lehigh University and the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.