Ron Carter

These days albums are anointed classics before they're even released, and artists are deemed legends after partying with Paris Hilton. But jazz bassist Ron Carter has earned the moniker. The National Endowment for the Arts recently anointed Carter as a Jazz Master — a title intended to recognize "living legends" for their continued contribution to the advancement of jazz. Carter's delicate melodies and meticulously measured rhythms have provided the backbone to nearly 1000 recordings, including classic songs from Eric Dolphy, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, and Herbie Hancock. His own complex compositions belie his background in classical music and focus on more moody, acoustic textures. And though you're unlikely to find him sharing lines with Nicole Richie in the VIP section of the club, his influence will be felt long after this generation's jet set has blown through its fifteen minutes of infamy.


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