Gene Rodgers (March 5, 1910, New York City - October 23, 1987, New York City) was an American jazz pianist and arranger. He is best known for being the pianist on Coleman Hawkins' famous 1939 recording of "Body and Soul".
Rodgers worked professionally from the mid-1920s, and in the next few years made recordings with Clarence Williams and King Oliver in addition to playing with Chick Webb and Teddy Hill. He started his own variety show in the 1930s, doing tours of Australia and England; while in the latter in 1936 he recorded with Benny Carter.
Upon his return he played with Coleman Hawkins (1939–40), Zutty Singleton, and Erskine Hawkins (1943). He did work in Hollywood in the 1940s, including an appearance in the film Sensations of 1945 with Cab Calloway and Dorothy Donegan. After this he worked mainly in New York, leading a trio for many years. He played with the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band in 1981-82.
Rodgers appears, with opening title credits, in the 1947 film Shoot to Kill, though it doesn't look like the sound was miked during filming. Appearing about 9:40 into the film is "Ballad of the Bayou" and later is "Rajah's Blues." Both are Rodgers compositions.
Rodgers recorded sparingly as a leader; he did two sides for Vocalion in 1936, four in a session for Joe Davis in 1945, and albums as a trio leader for EmArcy (1958), Black & Blue Records (1972), and 88 Up Right (1980).
Rhapsody Boogie Woogie by Gene Rodgers - 1944- From the movie That's My Baby - 1944. Practically every jazz record collector has heard a sampling of pianist Gene Rodgers but probably not realized it, for Rodgers took the famous four-bar piano introduction on Coleman Hawkins' classic rendition of "Body And Soul" in 1939! A talented swing-based pianist, Rodgers had a long career although he never became famous. He was a professional as early as 1924 and by 1928 was working in New York. Rodgers recorded with Clarence Williams and King Oliver and worked with Chick Webb and Teddy Hill among others. The pianist formed a variety act in the mid-1930's, touring the United States, England and Australia and recording with Benny Carter in Great Britain in 1936. Back in the U.S., Rodgers worked and recorded with Coleman Hawkins (1939-40), was in Zutty Singleton's Trio and with Erskine Hawkins' big band (1943). Rodgers worked in Los Angeles for a couple years (appearing in the film Sensations of 1945 on one number with Cab Calloway opposite fellow pianist Dorothy Donegan) and then led his own trio, mostly working in New York. In 1981-82 he worked for a period with the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band. As a leader, Gene Rodgers only recorded on a few occasions: two numbers for Vocalion in 1936, four for Joe Davis in 1945 and isolated trio albums for EmArcy (a definitive outing from 1958), Black & Blue (1972) and 88 Up Right (1980).