The Stone Alliance Book is a collaborative work in progress that recounts more than forty years of music history. In this unique dual autobiography written by friends of thirty years, Don Alias and Gene Perla recall their experiences of sharing the stage with hundreds of musicians. In addition to recording several albums together, they formed the Stone Alliance band in the mid-seventies and have recently started recording new material for their new band.

Don Alias

"What possesses anyone to play the conga drum, to beat on a conga drum with your hands? In some ways it really is a masochistic instrument. Even after forty years of playing with guys like Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Jaco Pasorius, Herbie Hancock and David Sanborn, I keep right on beatin' those congas because it's in my blood."

"I've been in love with all of the women I've worked with musically. You can't help but fall in love with them all, Nina Simone, Roberta Flack, Joni Mitchell, Tania Maria, Carla Bley, Lola Felana, Fran Jeffries and some others I just can't remember right now. I became romantically involved with a couple of them, and I'll tell you about those because the provocative side is probably the most interesting stuff, for sure. Let me just start with Eartha Kitt, the Catwoman herself, who took me on my very first gig to the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival to play with Dizzy's Big Band."

"While I was studying music at Berklee, I began dreaming of playing with Elvin Jones. During the summer of '68, I went back to Boston for a visit, and it turned out that Elvin was at a local TV station looking for a bass player. Jimmy Garrison, the regular bassist for his trio, was in New York and didn't make it back in time for the TV session. I had sat in with Elvin at a club in New York one night, so when I heard he was looking for a bass player, I flew out to that station and plugged in my electric bass. The first note I played sounded like shit because of the way the TV station had left their bass amp set up, and he growled at me to get rid of that bad sound.

I remember cringing when I listened back to some of that tape again, but I evidently had made a good impression on Elvin. The next time I saw him, in 1971, I was finishing up a year with Sarah Vaughan. I'll never forget when I got the call to join Elvin's band and had the chance to play with the likes of Joe Farrell and Frank Foster."

Gene Perla

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