Gene Perla grew up in northeastern New Jersey attending public school grades 1-12. After one year of post graduate study at New York Military Academy he entered the University of Toledo majoring in civil engineering and business. He then attended Berklee School of Music and Boston Conservatory before heading to New York City.
At age five Gene’s musical studies began with classical piano. Upon entering high school he was given a trombone which he played for five years culminating in marching on Fifth Avenue in New York City as part of the Memorial Day Parade. During high school he became aware of jazz and was thrilled to attend the first New York performance of Ted Heath’s big band at Carnegie Hall. It wasn’t until his last year at TU that his interest in music became primary.
After struggling with too many notes, and thanks to Charlie Haden’s performance on Ornette Coleman’s The Shape Of Jazz To Come,” Perla, at 24, switched to the bass as his main instrument. Not long after arriving in the City his talents became in demand and he found joy in performing with artists such as Willie Bobo, Carlos “Patato” Valdes, Nina Simone, Woody Herman, Sarah Vaughan, Elvin Jones, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra.
As an educator Mr. Perla has taught at William Paterson University, New School University, Center for the Media Arts and is currently at Lehigh University. Sound design has been a significant endeavor yielding credits on Broadway shows, theme parks and custom installations.