James Pankow

James Pankow - © http://ncoren.home.att.net/jimmy.html

born on 20/8/1947 in St-Louis, MO, United States

James Pankow

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James Pankow

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


Early 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 veteran actor John Pankow, and is of German and Irish descent.[1]

One of nine siblings, Pankow was influenced by his musician father, Wayne. His Notre Dame High School band instructor was Father George Wiskirchen, C.S.C.

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 was given the National Citation as well as recognition as Signature Sinfonian along with fellow Chicago members and Sinfonians on August 26, 2009.[2]

Since the early 1970s he has been a close friend of ex-Eagles guitarist Don Felder, as stated in Felder's autobiography.

Personal life

On May 5, 1972, he married Karen Marie Green. They had two children, Jonathan James and Sarah Noel in Malibu, CA. The two divorced in December 1993. On May 9, 1998 he married Jeanne Elisabeth Pacelli in Chicago. They had two children, Carter Wayne and Lillian Pierce. The family then relocated to Tennessee.

Tenure with Chicago

At DePaul, Pankow met Walter Parazaider, who recruited him to join a band named The Big Thing, which would become Chicago Transit Authority. Soon after the first album's release, the band's name was shortened to Chicago, when the actual Chicago Transit Authority threatened legal action. 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."

Pankow has also composed most of Chicago's brass arrangements over the years.

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

Along with fellow Chicago horns Lee Loughnane and Walter Parazaider, Pankow was featured on Three Dog Night's 1969 #15 hit "Celebrate" and on several tracks of the 1979 Bee Gees' Spirits Having Flown album. 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."[3]


  1. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1998-02-03/features/9802030036_1_cousin-ira-brother-act-garage-roof
  2. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  3. James Pankow at All Music Guide

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: James Pankow

  • Chicago official website
  • 2001 interview in the Honolulu Star Bulletin
Robert Lamm | James Pankow | Lee Loughnane | Walter Parazaider | Bill Champlin |
Jason Scheff | Tris Imboden | Keith Howland
Terry Kath | Peter Cetera | Danny Seraphine | Donnie Dacus | Dawayne Bailey
This page was last modified 14.05.2014 09:46:15

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