Patrick Adams, a producer, arranger and engineer who introduced experimentation, sophistication and infectious grooves to numerous soul and disco singles — his fellow producer Nile Rodgers known as him “a master at keeping butts on the dance floor” — died on Wednesday at his residence in Manhattan. He was 72.
His daughter, Joi Sanchez, mentioned the trigger was most cancers.
If you’ve boogied the evening away at a disco or circled a curler rink within the final 50 years, likelihood is you’ve performed it to music that Mr. Adams helped shepherd into existence, even when his identify doesn’t ring a bell. Despite his low profile, he left his fingerprints all over the place, usually as an engineer or arranger, sitting behind the blending board for acts like Gladys Knight, Rick James and Salt-N-Pepa.
His best legacy, although, was the scores of tracks he produced within the Nineteen Seventies for New York’s underground disco scene, the energetic, transgressive and insanely inventive nook of a style usually written off as tacky and uncreative. If radio stations in Cleveland and Topeka weren’t enjoying music he had produced, you could possibly ensure that New York golf equipment like Gallery and Paradise Garage have been.
“He was very underground,” Vince Aletti, who lined disco for Record World journal, mentioned in a cellphone interview. “He was really popular on a club level. He rarely broke through above that, but that kind of made him even more like he was ours.”
Mr. Adams’s model diverse from album to album, however every launch was expertly crafted and irresistibly catchy, at as soon as lofty and raunchy — like Musique’s “In the Bush,” a summer-defining membership hit of 1978 that one critic mentioned was amongst “the horniest records ever made.”
As with many of Mr. Adams’s studio acts, Musique was in a method only a entrance for his personal musical prowess. After a document govt employed him to create a disco hit, he wrote the music and lyrics, organized the devices (many of which he performed himself) and employed the singers.
He did a lot the identical with acts like Inner Life, Phreek, Cloud One, Bumblebee Unlimited and the Universal Robot Band — a secure of teams, usually drawing from the identical pool of personnel, that allowed him to unfold his inventive wings in several instructions.
But if Mr. Adams was in management, he was by no means dictatorial; his studio was at all times a collaborative house.
“He gave you room to develop, as long as he thought it was creative,” Christine Wiltshire, who sang lead vocals for Musique, mentioned in a cellphone interview. “He was never ‘This is the way it’s supposed to go.’”
Unlike many disco producers then and lots of dance producers since, Mr. Adams had little regard for beats and loops. Those got here later. He emphasised the melody, the lyrics and above all of the story his songs have been making an attempt to inform.
“If you start with a great song that has an attractive melody, a lyric that tells a story people can relate to, you’re way ahead of the game,” he told The New York Observer in 2017. “If you start with a beat, which in reality is not much different than anything anybody else could contrive with Fruity Loops or other computer software, you’re just one of a million people making noise.”
Mr. Adams was finest identified for his disco work, however he obtained his begin with soul bands within the early Nineteen Seventies, and within the ’80s, after disco light, he was an engineer for some of the main acts in New York’s rising hip-hop scene, like Salt-N-Pepa and Erik B. & Rakim.
“I always look at music as music, not necessarily having a genre,” he told The Guardian in 2017. “I was not trying to make a disco record. I was trying to make just a great record.”
Mr. Adams was born on March 17, 1950, in Harlem, the place he grew up 4 blocks from the Apollo Theater. His father, Fince, was a service provider seaman, and his mom, Rose, was a homemaker.
Patrick was musically inclined at an early age: His father purchased him a trumpet when he was 10 and gave him an acoustic guitar when he was 12. He sang in choir and performed guitar in a band, the Sparks, when he was 16.
But his actual curiosity was manufacturing. He experimented along with his father’s reel-to-reel tape deck to grasp abilities like overdubbing. He frolicked at studios, studying about mixing boards. He would dissect songs he heard on the radio, making an attempt to grasp their preparations and construction.
“I always shopped for records by producer, arranger and songwriter,” he was quoted as saying in a profile by the journalist Jason King for the Red Bull Music Academy web site. “The way D.J.s shop for records now is how I used to shop for records when I was a kid.”
Later he would grasp across the again door of the Apollo, so usually that Reuben L. Phillips, who carried out the in-house orchestra, let him distribute sheet music.
In the late Sixties he started working for Perception (*72*) as an entry-level jingle author; by 1970, he was govt vice chairman. A yr later he found his first large act, the group Black Ivory, which sang slow-soul hits like “Don’t Turn Around” and “Time Is Love.”
Mr. Adams grew to become identified round New York for his lush, energetic string preparations, and in 1974 he left Perception to begin his personal arranging and engineering firm. A yr later he and the music promoter Peter Brown based a label, P&P (*72*), to launch his underground music.
Mr. Adams by no means married, however he was in a longtime relationship with Ms. Wiltshire, the mom of Ms. Sanchez. They later separated, however the two remained shut. Along along with his daughter, he’s survived by a brother, Gus; one other daughter, Tira Adams; a son, Malcolm Holmes; and 6 grandchildren. His brother Terry died in 2020.
While Mr. Adams by no means gained the kind of public acclaim given to fellow producers like Mr. Rodgers or Quincy Jones, he did take pleasure in a renaissance within the Nineteen Nineties amongst D.J.s who fell in love along with his modern productions. He discovered the same following amongst hip-hop artists like Mac Miller, Raekwon and Kanye West, all of whom sampled his music.
Still, he appeared at ease along with his relative anonymity.
“You can tell a Nile Rodgers record a million miles away because it has an imprint that emanates from his guitar,” Mr. Adams mentioned in a 2017 interview for the Red Bull Music Academy. “In my case I tried to avoid that. I didn’t want my records to sound the same.
“Whether that was a positive thing or a negative thing, I don’t know. But at the same time there is a signature in my music — sometimes it’s harmonic, and sometimes it’s just in the quirkiness of things. And sometimes you just don’t hear it until somebody points it out to you and asks, ‘Oh, he did that record too?’”