Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Carter, Ron, bass, cello; b. Ferndale, Michigan, 4 May 1937. With more than 2,500 albums to his credit, Carter may well be the most recorded bassist around. He has recorded with many of the greatest names in music: Oliver Nelson, Tommy Flanagan, Gil Scott-Heron, Gil Evans, Lena Horn, 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, Helen Merrill, J.J. Johnson, Benny Golson, Sir Roland Hanna, Stan Getz, and Jessye Norman. Ron's many awards include citations by the Jaoan All-Star Jazz Poll and the SwingJournal Readers Poll. He was voted Outstanding Bassist of the Decade by the Detroit News and Jazz Bassist of the Year by Downbeat magazine. He was also named Most Valuable Player, Acoustic Bass, by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. His solo bass recording of the Bach Cello Suites on compact disc was certified Gold in 1988.
Ron earned a bachelor of music degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester and a Master's degree in double bass from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. He has also received two honorary doctorates, from the New England Conservatory of Music and the Manhattan School of Music, and was the 2002 recipient of the prestigious Hutchinson Award from the Eastman School at the University of Rochester. Ron has lectured, conducted, and performed at clinics and master classes, instructing jazz ensembles and teaching the business of music at numerous colleges. He was Artistic Director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Studies while it was located in Boston and, after eighteen years on the faculty of the Music Department of The City College of New York, he is now retired as Distinguished Professor Emeritus.
In the early 1960s, he performed throughout the United States in nightclubs and concert halls with Eric Dolphy, Jaki Byard, and Wes Montgomery, then toured Europe with Cannonball Adderley. He was a member of Miles Davis's now classic quintet from 1963 to 1968, along with Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, and Wayne Shorter. Ron was among the few bassists who continued to play acoustic bass when many turned to electric bass.
Carter won a Grammy award in 1988 for the instrumental composition, "Call Sheet Blues," from the film 'Round Midnight. He scored and arranged music for a number of other films including The Passion of Beatrice, directed by Bertrand Tavernier; Haraka, directed by Ola Balugun; and for the television movies Exit Ten, starring Peter Weller; and A Gathering of Old Men, starring Richard Widmark and Louis Gossett Jr.
Ron is the author of Building Jazz Bass Lines, a series of books on playing jazz; a Comprehensive Bass Method, for classical bass studies; Ron Carter, Bass Lines; and The Music of Ron Carter, which contains 130 of his published and recorded compositions. He also played on soundtrack of Twin Peaks behind Little Jimmy Scott. He recorded with Noah Baerman and Ben Riley on Sept. 12, 2002.
His wife Janet C. Carter, founding board member of the Studio Museum in Harlem, passed away April 25, 2000 from heart failure. They were married on June 7, 1959 in Rochester, New York. She graduated from the City College of New York with degrees in English and literature. With Ron, she had two sons, Ron Jr. and Myles (a painter who has spent time in Paris); a grandson, Nelson; sisters Delores Clemons of Norfolk, Virginia and Diane Cohen of Washington, D.C.; brothers Homer Hasbrouck of New York City; and Merritt Hasbrouck of Chicago, Illinois; and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.