Legendary jazz bassist Ron Carter

6th May 2022

Ron Carter is a legend in the world of jazz. His work as a bassist has appeared on thousands of recordings, and has the world records to prove it. In a career that spans over five decades, he’s won three Grammys – and he’s worked with folks like Miles Davis, Alice Coltrane, Aretha Franklin, Herbie Hancock, Billy Joel and A Tribe Called Quest. On the latest episode, we talk with Carter about his latest record: Skyline. It’s a trio album with pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba and drummer Jack DeJohnette. He’ll take us back to when he first picked up an instrument, the cello; and how he eventually found the bass. We’ll also talk about the time he played bass for A Tribe Called Quest on Low End Theory – and how he gave them the business about their foul language.

Episode notes

(Photo: Mark Mainz / Getty Images)

Ron Carter on his childhood, working with A Tribe Called Quest and his latest record Skyline

In a career that spans over five decades, Ron Carter has played jazz, classical, soul and hip-hop.

He’s won three Grammys. Ron’s worked with folks like Miles Davis, Alice Coltrane, Aretha Franklin, Herbie Hancock, Billy Joel and A Tribe Called Quest. 

Take his contributions on It’s Compared to What by Roberta Flack – the first song on her debut album First Take

The bass in the song is catchy, funky, a little mesmerizing. It alternates between forefront and background, effortlessly. Carter played bass on the entire record, and it’s a masterclass in the instrument. 

He’s appeared on thousands of recordings as a jazz bassist, and has the world records to prove it.

On Tuesday, May 10, he’ll celebrate his 85th birthday in style: with a tribute concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

He’ll take us back to when he first picked up an instrument, the cello; and how he eventually found the bass. We’ll also talk about the time he played bass for A Tribe Called Quest on Low End Theory – and how he gave them the business about their foul language. 

In this episode...

Producer
Associate Producer
Maximum Fun Producer
Maximum Fun Production Fellow

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  • Ron Carter

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Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.

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Producer

Associate Producer

Maximum Fun Producer

Maximum Fun Production Fellow

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