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Jim Schwall

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Jim Schwall
Born(1942-11-12)November 12, 1942
Evanston, Illinois, U.S.
DiedJune 19, 2022(2022-06-19) (aged 79)
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
GenresBlues, folk
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter
Instrument(s)Guitar, mandolin
Years active1964–2022
Formerly ofSiegel-Schwall Band
Jim Schwall Band

Jim Schwall (November 12, 1942 – June 19, 2022)[1] was an American musician, singer-songwriter, and photographer. He was best known as a co-founder and member of the Siegel-Schwall Band.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

Musical career[edit]

Jim Schwall was born in Evanston, Illinois. A singer-songwriter, he played guitar, as well as mandolin, bass guitar, accordion, and other instruments. He studied music at Roosevelt University. There he met Corky Siegel, and became interested in electric blues music. Schwall and Siegel formed a blues duo in 1964, playing at Chicago bars and clubs. They performed regularly at Pepper's Lounge and at Big John's, where well known, established blues musicians such as Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Willie Dixon would often sit in.[8] The duo expanded to a quartet and became the Siegel-Schwall Band. Schwall's amplified Gibson B-25 acoustic guitar was a distinctive component of the band's sound.

The Siegel-Schwall Band became quite popular, and by 1967 were touring nationally, performing at large venues like the Fillmore West and sharing the bill with well-known rock bands.[9][10] Between 1966 and 1974, they released at least ten albums. They were also noted for their collaborations with Seiji Ozawa, combining blues with classical music. After 1974, they disbanded, but the band re-formed in 1987. They played occasional live dates and released two albums of new material over the following decade.[3]

Schwall was also the leader of his own blues-rock band, the Jim Schwall Band. This band formed in the mid-1970s, and versions continued playing live on an intermittent basis into the 2000's.

Schwall was also involved in numerous other musical projects. He played guitar and accordion in the band So Dang Yang, and was the bassist for the Cajun Strangers. He earned a Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) degree in Music Composition from the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Music in 1994, submitting his composition Triptych: Dance Music in Three Acts for Eleven Players[11] in partial fulfillment for the requirements for the degree. He taught music at the college level. As a composer, he specialized in ballet, opera, and other music for the stage.


Schwall was also a professional photographer, and did different types of photography. In his later years he worked at creating art prints that combined human figures and natural landscapes. He sometimes used 19th-century photographic techniques such as kallitype, cyanotype, and gum printing, non-silver techniques that predate the gelatin silver process.

Political activism[edit]

Schwall was active in progressive political causes. In 2002 he ran for mayor of Madison, Wisconsin.[12]


After retiring and settling in Tucson, Schwall took to writing. At the urging of friends, he wrote a memoir titled "My So-called Career(s)" still unpublished, and was working on a novel tentatively titled "Organ Pipe Incident."


For Schwall's recordings with the Siegel-Schwall Band, see Siegel-Schwall Band.


  • A Wedding Present from Jim and Cherie Schwall – Jim and Cherie Schwall (private pressing, 1973)
  • Spring Vacation – The Jim Schwall Band
  • Growing Old – Jim Schwall
  • Piñata – So Dang Yang [EP]
  • Cajun Country Ramble – The Cajun Strangers
  • Short Stories – Jim Schwall (Waterbug Records, 2010)
  • Bar Time Lovers – Jim Schwall (Conundrum InterArts, 2014)


  • "Mr. Monster" / "Don't Drive When You've Been Drinking" – The Jim Schwall Band (Dynamic Voice, 1976)


  1. ^ Koch, Bob (June 21, 2022). "Blues Musician Jim Schwall Dies in Arizona". Isthmus. Retrieved June 22, 2022.
  2. ^ Jim Schwall at AllMusic
  3. ^ a b Siegel-Schwall Band biography at AllMusic
  4. ^ Jim Schwall biography Archived December 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine at the official Siegel-Schwall Band site
  5. ^ O'Donnell, Maureen (June 24, 2022). "Jim Schwall, Siegel-Schwall Band Guitarist, Dead at 79; Formed Influential Chicago Group". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  6. ^ Maxwell, Jackson (June 22, 2022). "Jim Schwall, Guitarist and Vocalist of the Siegel-Schwall Band, Dies at 79". Guitar World. Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  7. ^ Nash, JD (June 21, 2022). "Blues Guitarist/Vocalist Jim Schwall Dead at 79". American Blues Scene. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  8. ^ Widen, Larry (2005). Tombstone Blues. Apple Core Publishing Group. pp. 55–60. ISBN 1-4116-4823-4.
  9. ^ Concert review of the Siegel-Schwall Band at the Fillmore West, Billboard, March 27, 1971, pp. 28, 44
  10. ^ Milano, Dean (2009). The Chicago Music Scene: 1960s and 1970s. Arcadia Publishing. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-7385-7729-6.
  11. ^ Schwall, James L (1994). Triptych: dance music in three acts for eleven players. [Place of publication not identified]: [publisher not identified].
  12. ^ Scherling, Matt (November 26, 2002). "Schwall Joins Zipperer in Attempt to Oust Establishment". The Badger Herald. Archived from the original on March 9, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2022.

External links[edit]