Bassist Ron Carter has garnered numerous accolades and developed a peerless reputation. In the 1960s he performed throughout the US in nightclubs and concert halls with Eric Dolphy, Jaki Byard, and Wes Montgomery, then toured Europe with Cannonball Adderley. He was a member of Miles Davis’s now classic quintet from 1963 to 1968, along with Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, and Wayne Shorter.
Carter was among the few bassists who continued to play acoustic bass when many preferred the electric bass. Among his chief traits is an ability to create harmonically and rhythmically rich bass lines that challenge soloists with whom he collaborates. When Carter formed his first group, the bass was not generally considered a lead instrument; he found a solution with the piccolo bass, turning it in a manner that makes it stand out in an ensemble. Backed by a quartet of piano, drums, percussion, and an additional bass, Carter created one of the most distinctive and unusual jazz combos.
Carter won a Grammy award in 1988 for the composition, Call Sheet Blues, heard on the film Round Midnight. He scored and arranged music for a number of other films, including The Passion of Beatrice and made-for-television movies Exit Ten and A Gathering of Old Men. Carter is also the author of jazz studies books Building Jazz Bass Lines and Comprehensive Bass Method.
With more than 2,500 albums to his credit, Carter has recorded with many of the greatest names in music: Oliver Nelson, Tommy Flanagan, Gil Scott-Heron, Gil Evans, Lena Horn, James Brown, Coleman Hawkins, Bill Evans, Carlos Santana, Aretha Franklin, Sonny Rollins, Paul Simon, Janis Ian, Bette Midler, Benny Goodman, George Benson, B. B. King, Eric Gale, Johnny Hodges, Antonio Carlos Jobim, the Kronos Quartet, Dexter Gordon, Helen Merrill, J. J. Johnson, Benny Golson, Sir Roland Hanna, Stan Getz, and Jessye Norman. Carter’s many awards include citations by the Japan All-Star Jazz Poll and the Swing Journal Readers Poll. He was voted Outstanding Bassist of the Decade by the Detroit News and Jazz Bassist of the Year by DownBeat magazine. He was also named Most Valuable Player, Acoustic Bass, by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. His solo bass recording of the Bach Cello Suites on compact disc was certified Gold in 1988.
A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and Manhattan School of Music, Carter is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the music department of The City College of New York.