Gene Perry has been playing afro-Caribbean, Latin jazz, and Salsa music in San Diego for over 40 years. A native son of Santurce, a town in San Juan, Puerto Rico also known as “Cangrejo” or “crab,” Perry and his family arrived in San Diego in 1968, where his father, a pianist, provided support and encouragement for his musical interests.
In 1969, Perry established a Sunday jam session at the Pepper Grove Park by the Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park that thrived until 1974. From this group, he produced the afro-Caribbean percussion band Drums on Fire. In 1983, he formed the popular Latin jazz and salsa band Afro Rumba, performing with the group at Croce’s downtown from 1989 until 1994.
His recorded musical collaborators include locals Jaime Valle and Equinox, Fred Benedetti and George Svoboda, Hollis Gentry and Neon, Yale Strom Klazzj, Kamau Kenyatta, Joe Morello, and Turiya Mareya.