Walter Parazaider Poster


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Overview (3)

Born in Chicago, Illinois, USA
Birth NameWalter Joseph Parazaider
Nickname Walt

Mini Bio (1)

A founding member of the jazz-rock group Chicago, Walter Parazaider was born in the Windy City on March 14, 1945. Coming from a musical family, it was only natural that Walt would follow suit, and he began his career on the clarinet. Eventually, he became the protégé of the E-flat clarinetist in the Chicago symphony.

Parazaider switched over to sax ("It was a cool way to meet girls"), enrolled at De Paul University, and - inspired by The Beatles' hit "Got To Get You Into My Life" - became enamored with the idea of creating a rock 'n roll band with horns. Early sessions at Parazaider's house included Terry Kath and Danny Seraphine, friends from Walt's teen years. Another friend was Jim Guercio.

The band, first known as The Big Thing, eventually became Chicago. Aside from being a founder, Parazaider's role consisted of playing woodwinds on trombonist James Pankow's charts. Never a prolific writer, Parazaider's compositional contributions have been slight ("Prelude to Aire", "Window Dreamin'"), so his rep rests largely with his playing, though there can be no doubt that he has suggested a horn line or two over the years.

Solid in the section, Parazaider is capable of playing both a gorgeous melody ("Colour My World") and eclectic, intricate improvisations ("Just You 'N Me"). But he has a penchant for the odd and, often enough, his dissonant solos leave fans scratching their heads ("Movin' In" on "Chicago II", for example). To those who are musically literate, Parazaider's style borders on Coltrane-like experimentation (such as when he plays his solo on "Free" a step down live). To fans who just like a good tune, this can be confusing.

As such, most of Parazaider's best work is recorded. His solo on "Now That You've Gone" ("Chicago V") is perfect, and a nice display of his talent can be heard on "Long Time, No See" ("Chicago VIII"), which features a rare all-sax horn mix. Parazaider is all over the unreleased "Stone of Sisyphus" album, and it's a shame that his great playing on songs like "Plaid" can only be heard by fans who want to risk getting a bootleg of the set.

Tall, very thin, and long-haired when the group first started, Parazaider has trimmed his locks and put on weight in recent years. He's the only one of the Chicago regulars to have stayed married to his first wife (as of this writing), and he has at least one daughter (who gets a songwriting credit for "Get On This" on "Sisyphus" with James Pankow and then-boyfriend/guitarist, Dawayne Bailey). On the rare occasions he's interviewed, Parazaider comes across as pretty quiet and shy, though there is a sense of humor there. According to Pankow, Parazaider was one of the most bitter about the 1985 departure of bassist Peter Cetera, though Parazaider himself has never publicly said so. What he thought of the firing of old pal Danny Seraphine in the early 90s is also unrecorded. By most reports, Parazaider is a nice fellow. Now 60, Parazaider tours extensively with the band (occasionally spotted by Larry Klimas), and his extended flute solo is often a highlight of the performance. He is no doubt happy that his dream of a rock 'n roll band with horns has truly come to light.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: fleckwil

Spouse (1)

JacLynn Bryce (1966 - present) ( 2 children)

Trivia (4)

He played a trucker who helped Peter Cetera in the music video "Stay The Night" by Chicago.
He and Chicago were awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6438 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Was a classmate of Joe Mantegna.
In addition to touring with Earth Wind & Fire, Parazaider and Chicago have recently finished recording "Chicago XXX", tentatively set for release in the spring of 2006. [September 2005]

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