Ron Carter is among the most original, prolific, and influential bassists in jazz and has played on seminal albums in many other genres. He has recorded over 2200 albums, and has a Guinness world record to prove it! From 1963 to 1968, he was a member of the acclaimed Miles Davis Quintet. He can be heard on many iconic jazz records of the 60s and 70s such as Speak No Evil, Maiden Voyage, Speak Like a Child, and Red Clay, to name a few.
After leaving the quintet he embarked on a prolific 50-year freelance career that spanned vastly different music genres and continues to this day. He recorded with Roberta Flack and Aretha Franklin; with Gil Scott Heron on Pieces of a Man; appeared on the seminal hip-hop album Low End Theory with a Tribe Called Quest; played on albums by Billy Joel, Bette Midler, Paul Simon, and more; and wrote and recorded pieces for string quartets and Bach chorales for 2-8 basses.
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. He also penned his autobiography, Finding the Right Notes. In 2021 he pioneered a new type of music transcription with Chartography, showing not only the bass line but also how the band responded and how the entire tune transformed over time.
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. A 3-time Grammy winner, he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette for his contributions to Japan-US relations, the medallion and title of Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by France, numerous MVP and Outstanding Bassist awards by the music press. He has 7 honorary doctorates from Juilliard, Berklee, University of Michigan, New England Conservatory, Clark University, Manhattan School of Music and University of Rochester.
In October 2022 PBS released a full-length feature film documentary called Ron Carter: Finding the Right Notes about Carter’s life and legend. He appeared as himself on an episode of HBO’s Treme and in Round Midnight, among others.