Ron Carter

Ron Carter

Acoustic Bass icon Acoustic Bass, Electric Bass

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86 age

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May 4, 1937 Birthday

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Ferndale, Michigan, U.S. Birthplace

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Ron Carter is a legendary bassist, band leader and composer. He is well known for his time with the Miles Davis quintet from 1963 - 1968, but the list of recordings he appears on has literally set a world record. Carter is in the 2015 Guinness Book of World Records as the most recorded jazz bassist. In addition to Davis, Carter has recorded with Lena Horne, Bill Evans, B.B. King, Dexter Gordon, Wes Montgomery, Bobby Timmons, Eric Dolphy, Cannonball Adderley and many others. Carter leads several of his own groups and has released dozens of albums as leader. He is also a respected educator and author. Carter has taught all over the world including at Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music and has published several books.


Ron Carter invented his own instrument, the piccolo bass. In 2010 Ron Carter was awarded the Commandeur des Ordre des Artes et Lettres, the highest cultural honor in France. Ron Carter is featured in the 1986 film "Round Midnight" and won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition for the song "Call Sheet Blues," from the soundtrack album.

Early Life

Ron Carter was born outside of Detroit in 1937, the 5th of eight children. He started playing the cello at age 10 and had a paper route to help pay for lessons and sheet music. Carter attended Cass Technical High School where in addition to the cello he played clarinet, tenor sax, violin and tuba. When fellow Cass student Paul Chambers vacated the bass chair in 1955 Carter moved into the spot. He began playing jazz locally to earn money, but remained dedicated to classical music and went on to study classical bass at the Eastman School of Music in New York. He found that racism limited his opportunities in classical music so when the chance to go on tour with drummer Chico Hamilton arose he took it. After returning from the tour he moved to New York City where he earned a master's at the Manhattan School of Music by day and played in jazz clubs by night.