Ron Carter (born May 4, 1937, Ferndale, Michigan) is an American jazz double-bassist. His unique sound has made him a long sought after studio man. His appearances on over 2,500 albums make him one of the most-recorded bassists in jazz history, along with Milt Hinton, Ray Brown and Leroy Vinnegar. Carter is also an acclaimed cellist who has recorded numerous times on that instrument. He also has recorded a large body of classical work, and he contributed to the film score for Desperate Characters (1971).
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. He attended the historic Cass Technical High School in Detroit, and, later, the Eastman School of Music, where he played in its Philharmonic Orchestra. He gained his bachelor's degree at Eastman 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.