A major American composer and arranger active in the film industry beginning in the 1960s, Patrick Williams occasionally led projects of his own.
Raised in Connecticut, he started out learning classical trumpet, and played in the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra. At the same time, in high school, Williams led his own swing-oriented jazz band. He then studied at Duke University (where he led the Duke Ambassadors) and Columbia University, where he studied music composition and conducting. Active in recording studios as a young man, he piled up many credits while in New York from 1961 to 1967, and, though he played trumpet and vibes early on, became strictly a composer/arranger after moving to Los Angeles in 1968. He wrote the scores for over 60 feature films and countless television assignments, founded and ran the short-lived jazz label Soundwings in the late '70s, and arranged for many performers, including Barbra Streisand and Billy Joel. Williams taught at many universities while continuing to lead recording sessions, including some for Pausa, Verve, Capitol, Columbia, ABC, Allegiance, Warner Bros., Soundwings, and EMI. Having been nominated for numerous Grammys in his career, Williams received the award in 1974 for his big-band album Threshold, and again in 1986 for his trombone and orchestral work "Suite Memories." In 2011, Williams was nominated for two Grammy Awards for his big-band jazz recording Aurora. His big-band-style composition in tribute to his family, Home Suite Home, was released on Varèse Sarabande in 2015 and featured guests including Patti Austin, Dave Grusin, Arturo Sandoval, and Frank Sinatra, Jr. Patrick Williams died in Santa Monica, California in July 2018 at the age of 79. ~ Scott Yanow & Marcy Donelson, Rovi