Patrick Adams, the disco engineer and super producer who led to countless hits, has died, his daughter Joi Sanchez wrote in Facebook and regular collaborators Denise Wilkinson (of Ladies of SKYY) and Austin Wilkinson were confirmed by Pitchfork. “He who called me the joy of my birth, taught me how to live in love, made himself unforgettable in every way for me and many others in the world. Patrick Adams has moved on but some of us, like me, will remain forever [happily] what he has done for us and through us, ”Sanchez wrote. No cause of death was given. Patrick Adams is 72 years old.
Born in 1950, Adams played with a Harlem band called Sparks and began orbiting the world of production as a teenager. He rehearsed with bands, observed engineering sessions, and eventually began writing, arranging, and producing for Perception Records, where, in the mid-1970s, he was executive vice president. A soul aficionado known as the “prince of R&B,” Adams is a master arranger of works such as Sister Sledge and Candi Staton. However, when disco started in the late ’70s, he actually grew as a studio mastermind, synthesizer virtuoso, and inspiration for bands like Chic, whose Nile Rodgers. called to him “one of [his] greatest influences. ”
Adams ’reputation as an engineer and producer extraordinaire was heightened by his collaboration with Leroy Burgess, who provided hits for legendary New York DJs like Larry Levan. After signing up to direct Burgess ’first band Black Ivory, Adams teamed up with Burgess for a set of brilliant inventions including the iconic Phreek project — whose only song,“ Weekend, ”was a Levan staple- and studio outfit Inner Life, whose hits include. “Nasakpan Ko (In a One Night Love Affair).”
While Adams ’fruitful work for labels like Salsoul and Prelude helped establish a trademark disco sound, he also pushed beyond the genre. His electronic Cloud One project works outside the fringes of disco, and, in the ’80s, he helped watch the evolution of the genre into and hip-hop. Adams took a part-time job at Power Play Studio in Queens, where he went on to engineer Salt-N-Pepa and the first three Eric B. & Rakim albums in the late ’80s. Songs from his entire career were later sampled by hip-hop celebrities including J Dilla, Kanye West, Nas, and Wu-Tang Clan.
Adams ’huge musical footprint was largely unannounced until, in 2017, the Red Bull Music Academy held a celebration of his work in New York. In an interview at the time, he was pragmatic about the lack of recognition of his musical contributions. “You can tell a Nile Rodger record is a million miles away because it has an imprint coming from his guitar,” he said. Red Bull Music Academy. “In my case I tried to avoid that. I don’t want my records to sound the same. Whether that’s a positive thing or a negative thing, I don’t know. But at the same time there’s a signature to my music — sometimes it’s harmonic, and sometimes it’s the quirkiness of things. And sometimes you don’t hear it until someone points it out to you and asks, ‘Oh, he made that record too?’ ”