Ron Carter Turns 85 Years Today!

Article Contributed by Shore Fire Media | Published on Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Today, Ron Carter — known as “Maestro” to some, a certified “jazz deity” (NYT) to others, and jazz history’s most prolific bassist to all — turns 85 years old. The celebrations are just getting started, with features on NPR’s All Things Considered and a performance for NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concerts. 

On May 10, Ron's 85 years of excellence will be fêted at a one-night-only 85th birthday celebration filled with music and memories at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage. The event will feature performances by Carter-led groups in three combinations — trio, quartet, and nonet — and explore material from across his entire career. Read more here.

To get a taste of what’s in store at Carnegie on May 10, watch Ron Carter’s new Tiny Desk (At Home) Performance. Dapper and distinguished in matching ties, Ron and the members of his trio — Russell Malone and Donald Vega — comfortably treat us to a taste of the bassist’s mastery on the prestigious stage of The Blue Note in Manhattan. 

With over 2,100 recordings and counting, Ron Carter has performed with the most important figures in musical history. From the crystalline jazz of Miles Davis and Alice Coltrane, to the rich soul of Aretha Franklin and Roberta Flack, to the artistic rap of Tribe Called Quest and so much more, Ron Carter wields his instrument with quiet, self-assured power.

Today on NPR, Giovanni Russonello (NYT) says Carter has left as big a footprint on the genre as any musician, let alone bassists. "When I think of Ron Carter, I think of this incredible ability to be sure-footed everywhere, but also sound almost like a plasma, like some undefinable, mutable substance," he said. "His bass line is endlessly fascinating, and full of ideas. And on the move."

Carter is entering his 85th year with a recent GRAMMY award — his third career win for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Skyline with Jack DeJohnette and Gonzalo Rubalcaba — plus recognition by the Counseling In Schools Organization for his work as an educator, teaching students at the collegiate and elementary level.