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Ron Carter Biography

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Ron Carter (born May 4, 1937, Ferndale, Michigan) is an American jazz bassist. His unique sound and great swing have made him a sought after studio man — his appearances on over 2,500 albums make him one of the most-recorded bassists in jazz history.

Carter started to play cello at the age of 10, but when his family moved to Detroit, he ran into difficulties regarding the racial stereotyping of classical musicians and instead moved to bass. Carter attended the historic Cass Technical High School. He played in the Eastman School of Music's Philharmonic Orchestra, and gained his bachelor's degree in 1959, and in 1961 a master's degree in double bass performance from the Manhattan School of Music. His first jobs as a jazz musician were with Jaki Byard and Chico Hamilton. His first records were made with Eric Dolphy (another former member of Hamilton's group) and Don Ellis, in 1960. Carter also worked during this time with Randy Weston, Thelonious Monk, Cannonball Adderley and finally Art Farmer.

Carter came to fame via the second great Miles Davis quintet in the early 1960s, which also included Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Tony Williams. Carter joined Davis's group in 1963, appearing on the album Seven Steps to Heaven and the follow-up E.S.P.. The latter was the first album to feature the full quintet, and also featured three of Carter's compositions (the only time he contributed compositions to Davis's group). He stayed with Davis's regular group until 1968 (when he was replaced by Dave Holland), and participated in a couple of studio sessions with Davis in 1969 and 1970. Although he played electric bass occasionally during this period, he has subsequently eschewed that instrument entirely, and now plays only acoustic bass.

Carter also performed on some of Hancock, Williams and Shorter's recordings during the sixties for Blue Note Records. He was a sideman on many Blue Note recordings of the era, playing with Sam Rivers, Lee Morgan, McCoy Tyner, Andrew Hill and others.

After leaving Davis, Carter was for several years a mainstay of CTI Records, making albums under his own name and also appearing on many of the label's records with a diverse range of other musicians, including Wes Montgomery, Herbie Mann, Paul Desmond, George Benson, Jim Hall, Nat Adderley, Antonio Carlos Jobim, J. J. Johnson and Kai Winding, Eumir Deodato, Esther Phillips, Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, Kenny Burrell, Chet Baker and many others.

Carter has also performed and recorded with Billy Cobham, Stan Getz, Coleman Hawkins, Joe Henderson, Horace Silver, and many other important jazz artists, and has recorded over 20 albums as a bandleader.

He appears on the alternative hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest's influential album Low End Theory.

Carter was Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the Music Department of The City College of New York, having taught there for eighteen years, and received an honorary Doctorate from the Berklee College of Music, in Spring 2004.

Carter has a niece, through his sister, who works as a morning anchor on the CBS Hartford, CT affiliate WFSB-TV3.

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