Gene Ludwig started performing professionally in 1949 at the age of 12. Born near Pittsburgh, PA, one of the major cradles of jazz artists, Ludwig was initially a pianist. He took formal piano training for more than 12 years. Then in the late ’50s he saw Jimmy Smith perform at Pittsburgh’s Hurricane Club, that city’s mecca for the jazz organ sound. He put aside the piano and turned to the B3 Hammond organ and has been a steady performer for more than 40 years. Major events during this career include working and recording with Sonny Stitt and touring with Arthur Prysock. He has also appeared with guitarist Pat Martino. Ludwig has appeared at such major events as the Montreux and Mellon Jazz Festivals. He has cut albums for such labels as Muse and most recently for Loose Leaf Records. His long tenure as a performing artist has influenced other Hammond B3 performers, including Joe DeFrancesco.
Ludwig, along with other practitioners of the instrument, helped contribute to revive the popularity of jazz played by the B3 Hammond organ. Over the years, he has honed a recognizable jazz soul sound which he has successfully transferred to his latest albums. He has favored the organ quartet complete with a tenor sax player who combines his sone with that of the wide range and timbre afforded by the organ. This puts him four square in the tradition established by such organ/sax combinations as Richard “Groove” Holmes and Gene Ammons, Jimmy McGriff, and Hank Crawford and Shirley Scott with Stanley Turrentine. Ludwig continues to perform at jazz venues in and around the Pittsburgh area.
— Dave Nathan