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 70)
New London, Connecticut, U.S.
Genres Hard rock, Chicago blues, jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Harmonica, trumpet, saxophone
Years active 1968 - Present
Labels Rounder
Associated acts The J. Geils Band, Shun Ng

Richard "Magic Dick" Salwitz (born May 13, 1945) is an American musician, and the harmonica player for The J. Geils Band. In addition to the harmonica, Salwitz plays the trumpet (the first instrument he learned) and saxophone.

Early life[edit]

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 1968.

In 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 J. Geils Band's live album Full House has been particularly noted.[1][2] In The Rolling Stone Record Guide series music critic Dave Marsh has described Salwitz as possibly the best white musician to ever play blues harmonica.[citation needed]

After the J. Geils Band parted ways in 1985, Salwitz spent time working on a harmonica design of his own, which he labelled the "Magic Harmonica", a co-invention with Pierre Beauregard.


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

In 1992, Salwitz re-united with his old friend and band mate J. Geils and formed the band Bluestime. Bluestime featured 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 was a fusion of Chicago blues and classic jazz.

The band released two records on the Rounder Records label:

  • Bluestime (1994)
  • Little Car Blues (1996)

Bluestime toured heavily up to at least 2002, as both a solo act and as part of B.B. King's Bluesfest.

Magic Dick contributed his harmonica playing and some vocals as part of a live recording called "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 2007-2008.[3]

Magic Dick & Shun Ng[edit]

In 2014, Salwitz began collaborating with guitar and vocal artist, Shun Ng. "Immediately taken by his arranging, his composing and more particularly by his performance", the two have become very close.[4] Since then, they have formed an acoustic duo that performs and records music together regularly. They have toured together as part of the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue with acts such as Buddy Guy, Irma Thomas and Allen Toussaint.


External links[edit]