Ron Carter is among the most original, prolific and influential bassists in jazz. He has recorded more than 2200 albums, and has a Guinness World Record citation to prove it. Over his 60-year career, he has recorded with many jazz greats, including Lena Horne, Bill Evans, B.B. King, Dexter Gordon, Wes Montgomery, Bobby Timmons, Eric Dolphy, Cannonball Adderley and Jaki Byard. From 1963 to 1968, he was a member of the acclaimed Miles Davis Quintet.
After leaving the quintet, he embarked on a 50-year free-lance career that has spanned vastly different music genres and continues to this day. He recorded with Aretha Franklin, appeared on the seminal hip-hop album “Low End Theory” with a Tribe Called Quest, wrote and recorded pieces for string quartets and Bach chorales for basses and accompanied Danny Simmons on a spoken-word album.
As a leader, Carter spends at least half the year on worldwide tours with his various groups, including the Ron Carter Trio, the Ron Carter Quartet, the Ron Carter Nonet and Ron Carter’s Great Big Band. He has recorded multiple albums with his groups.
As an author, Carter shares his expertise in a series of books in which he explains his creative process and helps bassists of all levels to improve their skills and develop their own unique sound. He also penned his autobiography Finding the Right Notes, which is available in print and also as an audiobook read by Carter himself.
Carter has lectured, conducted and performed at clinics and master classes, instructing jazz ensembles and teaching the business of music at many universities. He was artistic director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Studies while it was based in Boston; after 18 years on the faculty of the music department of the City College of New York, he is now distinguished professor emeritus, and he also teaches at Manhattan School of Music.
In addition to scoring and arranging music for many films, including some projects for PBS, Carter composed music for “A Gathering of Old Men,” starring Lou Gossett Jr., “The Passion of Beatrice,” directed by Bertrand Tavernier, and “Blind Faith,” starring Courtney B. Vance.
In 2022, PBS premiered the full-length documentary “Ron Carter: Finding the Right Notes.” He has also appeared in Ken Burns “Jazz,” “Birth of the Cool” about Miles Davis, and "It Must Be Schwing," the story of the Blue Note, and many more. He also appeared as himself in HBO’s hit series “Treme” and was the bassist on soundtracks of “Twin Peaks,” “Bird” and many others.
Carter earned a bachelor of music degree from the Eastman School of Music and a master's degree in double bass from the Manhattan School of Music. He has also received honorary doctorates from the New England Conservatory of Music, Manhattan School of Music, University of Rochester, Juilliard and Berklee; he was the 2002 recipient of the prestigious Hutchinson Award from the Eastman School.
Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.