If you’ve ever seen such iconic TV shows as “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Streets of San Francisco,” or seen any number of major motion pictures of the late 1960s-1990s including “Swing Shift,” “Breaking Away,” “Cry-Baby,” or “The Grass Harp,” you’ve heard the music of Patrick Williams, musician, composer, arranger, conductor, producer, and educator.
Throughout his career, Williams moved seamlessly between jazz, classical, and popular genres. He was chosen by Frank Sinatra as musical director and arranger for the Chairman’s final studio recordings, “Duets” and “Duets II,” and also had a major role in shaping some of the most beloved and successful pop songs and albums by artists such as Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Gloria Estefan, Brian Setzer, and Barbra Streisand. His arrangement of Billy Joel’s Diamond-certified album, “The Stranger” was recognized by The Recording Academy for Best Arrangement and Record of the Year in 1977.
I was privileged to interview Mr. Willilams last year for MLS, with deepest thanks to Peter Erskine. Williams, who died today at aged 79, was one of the main inspirations for this blog.
Click here to read the entire “Making Life Swing” Q & A with Patrick Williams.