In addition to leading his own groups, keyboardist and composer David Rodgers has worked with acclaimed artists like Keb’ Mo’ and Taj Mahal. Get to know our TALENT SCOUT Artist of the Week.
NAME: David Rodgers
HOMETOWN: Pasadena, CA
MUSICAL TRAINING: I started taking piano lessons when I was 4 and studied almost primarily classical music on the piano. Around the age of 10, I started composing, playing classical chamber music, and listening to jazz for the first time. I think that’s when my conception of music exploded into this universe of infinite possibilities. I studied classical and jazz piano in college at Vanderbilt University, and was also fortunate enough to take elective credits in drum set and jazz voice lessons for fun too.
FIRST GIGS: One of the first gigs I remember was at a woman's Christmas party when I was in high school. My mom dropped me off, I played solo Christmas jazz piano for two hours, and then my mom picked me up. The woman called me the next day and told me that when I’d stopped playing, I had “ruined her evening.” I told her that if she wanted to pay me more money next time, I’d gladly play longer!
MUSICAL INFLUENCES: Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Brad Mehldau, Mark Guiliana, Vinnie Colaiuta, Chris Dave and many more. Gospel and flamenco music are also two of my favorite genres to listen to and study in my free time.
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW: Un Cambio by Chinchano, Little Ghost by Moonchild, Dark Grooves Mystical Rhythms, by James Hurt, Misterioso by Thelonious Monk.
MY BIG BREAK: In 2017, Grammy-winning bluesmen Keb’ Mo’ and Taj Mahal asked me to join them on their ‘TajMo’ world tour as keyboardist and musical director. It was an opportunity of a lifetime. I was able to play some legendary jazz festivals (Montreux, North Sea, Molde, etc.) as well as meet and chat with some of my musical inspirations like Herbie Hancock & Cory Henry.
LATEST PROJECTS: My sophomore album, Doorways, available now.
FAVORITE KEYBOARDS AND WHY? I tour with the Korg Kronos (in addition to a real Hammond B3 organ and a Fender Rhodes). The versatility of the Kronos in tweaking and designing sounds for live performance is pretty exciting. I also love the never-ending exploration of analog synthesizers anytime I’m home in my studio. I can’t get enough of my Moog Sub 37.
ADVICE TO THE NEXT GENERATION: Learn how to cultivate the humility to be patient in your individual musical and life journeys. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and prioritize gratitude alongside hard work and dedication to your craft.
For more information on David Rodgers visit www.davidmrodgers.com