John Bass serves as Director of the Mike Curb Institute for Music at Rhodes College, an endowed program founded by Mike Curb to research, preserve, and promote the musical traditions of Memphis and the South. Through the Curb Institute, Dr. Bass has developed and directs student fellowships, original research, and community engagement initiatives in Memphis. He has also produced pioneering concerts and events featuring Rosanne Cash, Charles Lloyd, George Coleman, Bobby Rush, Ellis Marsalis, Bill Frissel, Dan Penn, Mose Allison, Jessie Winchester, and Kirk Whalum, in addition to highlighting numerous local Memphis artists. Dr. Bass also created and oversees a student-produced concert series from 1034 Audubon Drive, the first house purchased by Elvis Presley, called An Evening at Elvis’ (www.eveningatelvis.org). Dr. Bass directs the Rhodes Jazz Band and teaches jazz guitar, along with classes in the Urban Studies Program (Music and Community in Memphis).
Dr. Bass holds two degrees in jazz performance from the University of Southern Mississippi (B.M.) and the University of Memphis (M.M.), and a Ph.D. in historical musicology from the University of Memphis, where he studied 16th-Century improvisatory traditions. He is an active researcher of the musical traditions of Memphis and works as a professional guitarist in the Memphis area.
Dr. Bass is also involved throughout Memphis on a civic level. He serves on the Levitt Shell Preservation Board, is a member of the Beale Street Walk of Fame Committee, and is a graduate of the New Memphis Institute Fellows Program.
Mike Curb, California's former lieutenant governor and acting governor, is one of the most prominent figures in the entertainment world and presides over his own independent record label, Curb Records, which has launched the careers of numerous stars and is considered to be the oldest record company in the nation still being operated by its founder. During a distinguished career spanning over five decades, Curb has earned multi-faceted success as a songwriter, producer and record company owner, covering a wide range of musical styles. As an individual, he has written more than 300 songs, and received countless music industry awards, including the prestigious Overall Producer of the Year Award from Billboard magazine in 1972. As the founder and Chairman of Curb Records, Curb's company has achieved more than 300 No. 1 records and has been honored by Billboard magazine as 2001 Country Music Label of the Year and Radio & Records magazine as 2005 Overall Gold Label of the Year and 2015 Mediabase CRS Gold Label of the Year.
Curb also serves as Chairman of the Mike Curb Family Foundation, which supports programs for homeless and underserved communities, music education initiatives, and works to restore historic music industry locations. The Curb Foundation owns and has restored Elvis Presley's former home in Memphis (1034 Audubon Drive), RCA Studio A, RCA Studio B, Columbia Studio A, the Quonset Hut, and the Johnny Cash Collection in Nashville in addition to restoring the historic buildings on Nashville's famous Music Row.
The Curb Family Foundation also supports the Curb Creative Connection, a network of higher education schools from across the country. In addition to the Mike Curb Institute for Music at Rhodes, Curb has created initiatives at Arizona State University, Baylor University, Belmont University, Bethune-Cookman University, California State University -Chanel Islands, California State University-Northridge, Calremont McKenna College, Daytona State College, Fisk University, The University of Hawaii, and Vanderbilt University. These schools work meet regularly to form a national network of schools to connect students and programs among the Curb-supported institutions.
In 2007 Curb was honored as Nashvillian of the Year and he received his star on Nashville's Music City Walk of Fame. Curb has also received his star on the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2011 Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam appointed Curb Chairman of the Board of the Tennessee Film Entertainment and Music Commission. In 2015 Curb was honored with the 40th annual Historic Achievement Award from the Metropolitan Historical