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James Pankow

Pankow in 2008
Background information
Birth name James Carter Pankow
Born August 20, 1947 (1947-08-20) (age 62)
United States St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Genres Rock, adult contemporary, jazz
Instruments Trombone, keyboards, vocals, percussion
Years active 1967–present
Associated acts Chicago

James Carter "Jimmy" Pankow (born August 20, 1947) is an American trombone player, songwriter and brass instrument arranger best known for being a founding member of the rock band Chicago.


Personal life

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Pankow moved with his family to Park Ridge, Illinois at the age of eight, where he started playing the trombone at St. Paul of the Cross Elementary School. He is the older brother of actor John Pankow.

One of nine siblings, Pankow was influenced by his father, Wayne (who was also a musician), and by his Notre Dame High School band instructor, Father George Wiskirchen.

Pankow earned a full music scholarship to Quincy College, where he studied the bass trombone. After completing his freshman year, he returned home for the summer and formed a band that began to play some live local shows. Not wanting to give up this work, Pankow transferred to DePaul University.

He is also a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and will be given the National Citation as well as being recognized as Signature Sinfonian along with fellow Chicago members and Sinfonians on August 26th, 2009.[1]

Since the early 1970s he has been a close personal friend of ex-Eagles guitarist Don Felder.

On May 5, 1972, he married Karen Marie Green. They had two children, Jonathan James and Sarah Noel. The two divorced in December of 1993. On May 9, 1998 he married Jeanne Elisabeth Pacelli in Chicago. They had two children, Carter Wayne and Lillian Pierce. They currently reside in southern California.

Tenure in Chicago

Pankow performing in concert

At DePaul, Pankow met Walter Parazaider, who recruited him to join a band named The Big Thing -- which would eventually become Chicago. Pankow has remained a member of Chicago since its inception.

In addition to playing the trombone, Pankow has composed many songs for Chicago, including the hits "Make Me Smile" and "Colour My World" (both from his suite Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon), "Just You 'N' Me," "(I've Been) Searchin' So Long," "Old Days," "Alive Again," and (with Peter Cetera) "Feelin' Stronger Every Day."

He has also composed most of Chicago's brass arrangements over the years and, as a result, is perhaps the person most responsible for the "Chicago sound."

Although Pankow is not one of the band's principal vocalists, he sang lead vocals for two Chicago songs: "You Are On My Mind" (from Chicago X, 1976) and "Till the End of Time" (Chicago XI, 1977).

Other musical contributions

Pankow along with fellow Chicago horns Lee Loughnane and Walter Parazaider was featured on Three Dog Night's 1969 #15 hit Celebrate (Pankow has appeared on several albums for the rock band Toto, including the 1982 Grammy Award winning Toto IV and their 2006 album Falling In Between, for which he composed the brass arrangements and performed on the song "Dying On My Feet." Pankow, along with Lee Loughnane and Walt Parazaider also appear on the 1979 Bee Gees' "Spirits Having Flown" album playing horns on several tracks.

External links


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