Biography and Awards
RON CARTER is among the most original, prolific, and influential bassists in jazz. He has recorded over 2200 albums, and has a Guinness world record to prove it!
In Jazz: From 1963 to 1968, he was a member of the acclaimed Miles Davis Quintet. Over his 60 year career, he has recorded with so many of the jazz greats greats: Lena Horne, Bill Evans, B.B. King, Dexter Gordon, Wes Montgomery, Bobby Timmons, Eric Dolphy, Cannonball Adderley and Jaki Byard to name a few. He can be heard on many iconic jazz records of the 60's and 70's such as Speak No Evil, Maiden Voyage, Red Clay, Speak Like a Child, Nefertiti and Miles Smiles, to name a few.
In other genres: After leaving the quintet he embarked on a prolific 50-year free lance career that spanned vastly different music genres and continues to this day. He recorded with Roberta Flack, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Bette Midler and 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 2-8 basses and accompanied Danny Simmons on a spoken word album.
As a leader: Carter continues to do worldwide tours with his various groups. The Golden Striker Carter Trio, The Foursight 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 the series of books he authored, where he explains his creative process and teaches bassists of all levels to improve their skills and develop their own unique sound.
His books share a unique feature he pioneered, that of including QR codes in every book that lead to additional material, enrighing the text and making each book that much more valuable.
He also penned his autobiography “Finding the Right Notes” which is available in print and e-book and also as an audiobook read by the Maestro himself.
As a teacher: Carter has lectured, conducted, and performed at clinics and master classes, instructing jazz ensembles and teaching the business of music at numerous universities. He was Artistic Director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Studies while it was located in Boston and, after 18 years on the faculty of the Music Department of The City College of New York, he is now Distinguished Professor Emeritus. He also taught at the Juilliard School and at Manhattan School of Music.
In film scoring: In addition to scoring and arranging music for many films, including some projects for Public Broadcasting System, Carter composed music for A Gathering of Old Men, starring Lou Gosset Jr., The Passion of Beatrice directed by Bertrand Tavernier, and Blind Faith starring Courtney B. Vance.
Film appearances: In 2022 PBS premiered the full-lenth feature film documentary of Carter's Live and Legend "Finding the Right Notes. Many jazz documentaries feature the Maestro because of his indelible contribution to the genre including Ken Burns' Jazz, “Birth of the Cool” about Miles Davis, "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 way too many others to mention.
Education: Carter earned a bachelor of music degree from the Eastman School in Rochester and a master's degree in double bass from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.
Grammy Awards: In 2022 he won with Skyline for best Jazz Instrumental Album with the Skyline Trio. In 1993, Carter earned a Grammy award for Best Jazz Instrumental Group, the Miles Davis Tribute Band and another Grammy in 1986 for "Call Sheet Blues", an instrumental composition from the film, Round Midnight.
Guinness World Record: In 2015 Carter earned a Guinness World Record as the most recorded jazz bassist with 2,221 recordings. Since that time he has recorded hundreds more.
International Awards: In 2021 the Japanese government awarded him The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette for his contributions to Japan-US relations in the field of music. Carter was honored by the French Minister of Culture with France's premier cultural award, the medallion and title of Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, given to those who have distinguished themselves in the domain of artistic or literary creation and for their contribution to the spread of arts and letters in France and the world.
Education Awards: Carter earned seven honorary doctorates; Manhattan School of Music (1998), the New England Conservatory of Music (1999), Berklee (2005), University of Rochester (2010), University of Michigan (2016), Juilliard (2018), Clark University (2023).
He was the 2002 recipient of the prestigious Hutchinson Award from the Eastman School at the University of Rochester
In 2021 he received the Satchmo Award from the Louis Armstrong Foundation for his lasting contribution to jazz as an educator
Press Awards: He was named "Outstanding Bassist of the Decade" by the Detroit News, Jazz Bassist of the Year by Downbeat magazine, and Most Valuable Player by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.