By Matt Micucci
Ron Carter has earned a Guinness World Records title as the most recorded jazz bassist in history. As of September 1, 2015, he had amassed an incredible 2,221 individual recording credits to his name. According to Marvin Geoffe, one of the biographers that helped him get into the Guinness World Book of Records, the number of credits would have been closer to 3,000 had it not been for the fact that only credits that could be verified were considered. This strict process of verification is also a reason that contributed to Carter beating out the competition from other prolific bassists, such as Milt Hilton and Ray Brown.
Born in Ferndale, Michigan, in 1937, Carter rose to prominence as part of the Miles Davis Quintet in the early ’60s, which also included Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Tony Williams. He also appeared as a sideman on many Blue Note recordings of the era, playing with artists such as Freddie Hubbard and Andrew Hill. On top of appearing on jazz recordings, Carter has often crossed over to contribute his elegant and rich double-bass lines on tracks for numerous big names in pop music, such as Billy Joel. In 1991, he even dipped his toes into the world of hip-hop, after appearing on “Verses from the Abstract,” from the A Tribe Called Quest album The Low End Theory. He has performed on the soundtracks to a number of films and TV shows, among them 1969’s Midnight Cowboy and 1990’s Twin Peaks.
Carter has recorded over 50 albums as leader, beginning with Where?, in 1961. In addition to his work as a bassist, he is a cellist, and has recorded numerous times on that instrument as well. Just last year he received the 2015 Odyssey Award for Lifetime Achievement in Music by the Global Music Awards and, although Carter is now nearing 80, he continues to perform all over the world.