Originally from Detroit, Ron Carter, born May 4, 1937, began playing the
cello but switched to the bass as a teenager.
His early work included stints with Chico Hamilton, Eric Dolphy and Jaki
Byard. Carter's main contribution came during his years with Miles Davis.
Together with Herbie Hancock and Tony Williams, he was a vital part of a
rhythm section that propelled Davis' most adventuresome group. Carter's
rhythmic precision provided a center for the exuberant flamboyance of the
Davis' creativity, while his crisp, clear lines brought subtlety and nuance
to the more spiritual aspects of the music.
Over the past three decades, he has recorded with many of the greatest
names in music: Oliver Nelson, Tommy Flanagan, Gil Scott-Heron, Gil Evans,
Lena Horne, 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, and Helen Merrill.
While continuing to complement a score of other bands as stellar
accompanist, Carter is also a leader. He's put together any number of
groups, ranging from small ensembles to a nonet.
His 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. Ron
was also named "Most Valuable Player, Acoustic Bass," by the National Academy
of Recording Arts and Sciences.
Mr. 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, where he later returned to teach. He has lectured, conducted, and
performed at clinics, instructed Jazz ensembles, and has taught the
business of music at Wisconsin, Connecticut, Indiana, North Carolina,
Rutgers, and Howard universities, among others, as well as the Harlem
School for the Arts. He is currently Professor of Music at the City College
of New York.
Accordingly, he reports that "Education has always served to increase my
awareness. Teaching helps me better understand what it is that I do. The
students walk away with the history of string bass; they become more
cognizant of Jazz history."