Walter Parazaider

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Walter Parazaider
Walter Parazaider.jpg
Parazaider in 2008
Background information
Birth nameWalter Parazaider
Born (1945-03-14) March 14, 1945 (age 74)
Maywood, Illinois, US
GenresRock, blues, R&B, jazz fusion
InstrumentsSaxophone, flute, clarinet, guitar
Years active1966–2017
Associated actsChicago

Walter Parazaider (born March 14, 1945) is an American woodwind musician best known for being a founding member of the rock band Chicago. He plays a wide variety of wind instruments, including saxophone, flute, clarinet. He also occasionally plays guitar.

Early life[edit]

Parazaider was born in Maywood, Illinois, and began playing the clarinet at the age of 9. As a teenager, his growing talent was being groomed for a career as a professional orchestral musician, and he gained a Bachelor of Arts degree in classical clarinet performance from DePaul University.[1][2]

Career with Chicago[edit]

Inspired by the Beatles hit "Got To Get You into My Life", Parazaider became enamored with the idea of creating a rock 'n' roll band with horns. Early practice sessions at Parazaider's house included guitarist Terry Kath and drummer Danny Seraphine, who were both friends during his teenage years. Another friend who became involved was future Chicago producer James William Guercio.

The band, originally called The Big Thing, eventually became Chicago with the addition of Lee Loughnane on trumpet, James Pankow on trombone, Robert Lamm on keyboards and Peter Cetera on bass. Parazaider's primary musical role in the band has consisted of playing woodwinds on James Pankow's horn arrangements. Never a prolific writer, Parazaider's compositional contributions ("It Better End Soon: 2nd Movement", "Free Country", "Aire", "Devil's Sweet", "Window Dreamin'") have been few relative to the other members.

Parazaider performs the highly recognizable flute solo in the Chicago hit "Colour My World", which became a popular 'slow-dance' song at high school proms during the 1970s. The band's 1973 hit "Just You 'n' Me" also features a Parazaider solo, on soprano sax.

In 2008, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by DePaul University.[1]

He is also a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and was given the National Citation, being recognized as Signature Sinfonian along with fellow Chicago members and Sinfonians on August 26, 2009.[3]

A member of Chicago from its inception, Parazaider continued to tour extensively with the band until his retirement from touring in 2017 due to a heart condition.[4][5] He is now included on the band's "Tribute to Founding Members" page alongside Kath, Seraphine and Cetera.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Parazaider has been married to his wife JacLynn for almost five decades and has two daughters, Laura and Felicia. He is of Croatian descent.[citation needed]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Walter Parazaider Saxophonist and Founding Member of the Band Chicago Bachelor of Arts, Classical Clarinet Performance". Distinctions – Quick Hits: Honorary Degree Recipients. DePaul University. 2008. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
  2. ^ Jepsen, Dave. "Walter Parazaider – Woodwinds". Meet Chicago – band Member Biographies. Chicago True Advocates. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 23, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Chicago: Feeling 50 Years Young
  5. ^ "Band Members – Chicago". Archived from the original on August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  6. ^ "Tribute to Founding Members – Chicago". Archived from the original on August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 10, 2018.