Magic Dick

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Magic Dick
Background information
Birth name Richard Salwitz
Also known as Magic Dick
Born (1945-05-13) May 13, 1945 (age 71)
New London, Connecticut, US
Genres Hard rock, Chicago blues, jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Harmonica, trumpet, saxophone
Years active 1968—
Labels Rounder
Associated acts The J. Geils Band, Shun

Richard Salwitz[1] (born May 13, 1945), known as Magic Dick, is an American musician, noted for playing the harmonica for the J. Geils Band. In addition to the harmonica, Salwitz plays the trumpet (the first instrument he learned)[2] and saxophone.

Early life[edit]

Salwitz was born in New London, Connecticut. He attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute, in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he met John "J." Geils and Danny Klein and became a founding member of the J. Geils Band in 1965.[3]


The J. Geils Band[edit]

Salwitz's harmonica playing became a major and distinctive element in the J. Geils Band's sound during their hard-rocking 1970s heyday. His performance of "Whammer Jammer" on the band's live album Full House has been particularly noted.[4][5] In the Rolling Stone Record Guide series, music critic Dave Marsh described Salwitz as possibly the best white musician to ever play blues harmonica.[3]

After the J. Geils Band dissolved in 1985, Salwitz spent time working on a harmonica design of his own, which he labeled the "Magic Harmonica", a co-invention with Pierre Beauregard that received a patent.[3][6]


Album Cover: Little Car Blues (Copyright Rounder Records 1996)

In 1992, Salwitz reunited with his old friend and bandmate J. Geils and formed the band Bluestime, with Steve Ramsey on drums, Jerry Miller on guitar, and Roy McCloud on bass. McCloud was later replaced by Michael "Mudcat" Ward, who played with the band for several years before leaving to pursue other interests. Ward was subsequently replaced by bassist John Turner. The band's music was a fusion of Chicago blues and classic jazz.

The band released two records on the Rounder Records label: Bluestime (1994) and Little Car Blues (1996). They toured heavily until at least 2002, as both a solo act and as part of B.B. King's Bluesfest.

Additional blues music[edit]

Salwitz contributed his harmonica playing and some vocals to a live recording, "Command Performance", by the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue, featuring the Tommy Castro Band, Deanna Bogart, Ronnie Baker Brooks, and others. He toured as part of the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue on different blues cruises and again on land-based shows during 2007 through 2008.[7]

In 2014, Salwitz began collaborating with guitar and vocalist Shun Ng.[1] "Immediately taken by his arranging, his composing and more particularly by his performance", Salwitz formed a friendship with Shun,[2] who was born in Chicago, raised in Singapore, and based in Boston.[1][2] They formed an acoustic duo and perform and record music together regularly. They have toured together as part of the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue, with artists such as Buddy Guy, Irma Thomas and Allen Toussaint.

Personal life[edit]

Magic Dick is based in the Boston, Massachusetts area.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Killeen, Wendy (March 22, 2016). "Musical minds connecting in Salem". Boston Globe. Retrieved April 3, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d Cote, Mike (June 3, 2015). "Making a connection: Harmonica wizard of J. Geils Band fame teams up with Shun Ng". New Hampshire Union Leader. Retrieved April 3, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Spiardi, Dana (May 13, 2015). "'Magic Dick' Salwitz: Still Whammin' and Jammin' at 70". Retrieved April 3, 2016. 
  4. ^ Review of Live Full House at AllMusic
  5. ^ "How to Play "Whammer Jammer" by Magic Dick on harmonica". 
  6. ^ "Magic Dick". Retrieved April 3, 2016. 
  7. ^ Magic Dick playing with the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue in Kansas City, 2009 on YouTube.

External links[edit]