John Bass is an associate professor of music and the director of the Mike Curb Institute for Music. Dr. Bass holds two degrees in jazz performance and a Ph.D. in historical musicology. His current research focuses on amplifying underrepresented voices in jazz history and high-impact pedagogical practices, as shown in his 2023 article “White Supremacy and the Major Scale: Reframing Narratives to Teach the Blues, Improvise, and Check in with Students.” His work appears regularly in both peer-reviewed and public-facing forums.
At Rhodes, Bass has developed and teaches innovative courses such as “Music and Community in Memphis,” “Audio Engineering: History, Theory, and Practice,” “Applied Improvisation,” and “Songwriting in Memphis” (scheduled for Spring 2024). As a guitarist Bass has performed and recorded with artists including Bobby Rush, Kirk Whalum, George Coleman, an Eden Brent. In 2021, he arranged, produced, and performed on an original recording of “America the Beautiful” that featured blues legends Bobby Rush and Eddie Cotton. Dr. Bass serves on the education committee of the Memphis chapter of the Recording Academy, and has served on the board of numerous local arts organizations such as ArtsMemphis, the Overton Park Shell, and the Memphis Slim Collaboratory. Dr. Bass has been honored for his work with Memphis Shelby County Schools and was featured in their “901 Soul Stories” series.
"White Supremacy and the Major Scale: Reframing Narratives to Teach the Blues, Improvise, and Check In with Students," Research & Issues in Music Education: Vol. 17: No. 1, Article 2. (2023)
“Community and Creativity – Even in Quarantine,” Remote—Close, Rhodes College (2020)
“Memphis-Born Singer Vera Little: From Manassas High to the Vatican,” Daily Memphian (2019)
M.M., Ph.D., University of Memphis