Born in 1945 in New London, Connecticut, Magic Dick arrived in post-war America to the Atomic Bomb, World Peace, Bebop and Rhythm & Blues. Dynamic change and growth in the arts and technology would be the hallmark of this era and by the time he was eight Dick knew that music, painting and physics would be his primary interests. The trumpet was his constant companion and served as a springboard to the harmonica in his sophomore year at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts where he met J. Geils and Danny Klein and became a founding member of the J. Geils Blues Band in 1968.
Photo by Melavator
By 1969 the band had moved to Boston and joined forces with Peter Wolf, Stephen Jo Bladd and Seth Justman. In 1970 the J. Geils Band recorded their first of nine albums for Atlantic Records and toured incessantly, jamming with many of the blues greats including Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Junior Wells and James Cotton. The band developed a reputation for 'getting crazy' and devastated audiences for fifteen years with their high-energy style of Rhythm & Blues and Rock & Roll. These recordings showcase Magic Dick's innovative harmonica playing, which served as a strong distinguishing sound for the band.
A series of five albums for EMI America followed culminating in the Platinum album Freeze Frame, released in 1981, which ascended to #1 on the Billboard album charts, spent four weeks there, and remained on the charts for a total of 70 weeks. The album's first single, "Centerfold," spent six weeks at #1 in Billboard. Freeze Frame's title track followed "Centerfold," peaking at #4.
Subsequent to The J. Geils Band, Magic Dick performed as a guest artist harmonica soloist for Patty Smyth, Debbi Harri, Full Circle, The Del Fuegos and Ryuici Sakamota, among others. In 1992, Magic Dick and J. Geils formed the band Bluestime featuring Magic Dick on harmonica and vocals and J. Geils on guitar.
Magic Dick's years of experimentation and searching for new sounds and stylings for the harmonica cultivated a strong desire to improve the flexibility and quality of the harmonica so as to better fit into contemporary music yet retain the best characteristics of harmonica sound and cultural history. This development continues to this day in the recordings of Bluestime on Rounder Records, which feature prototypes of Magic Harmonicas' expanding the role of the harp now, and for the future. Magic Dick's intense drive to extend and enlarge the cultural history of the harmonica is shared in a balanced and fruitful union with Magic Harmonicas co-inventor and partner Pierre Beauregard.