About the Des Moines Community Jazz Center Hall of Fame

Des Moines may not be the JAZZ "capital of the world", but that hasn't stopped the Greater Des Moines Community Jazz Center (CJC) from recognizing the musical contribuitions of the city's finest and most influential musicians.

Started in 2001, the Des Moines Jazz Hall of Fame was established to hoor those musicians who have been proud to call Des Moines (or Central Iowa) home. Musicians selected for the Des moines Jazz Hall of Fame have not only influenced future generations of musicians, but have provided the city's jazz fans with years of musical adventure and enjoyment.

Each October since 2001, Des Moines' jazz fans have gathered at Adventureland Inn in Altoona (just east of Des Moines) to celebrate the contributions of many talented and dedicated individuals.  In addition, the CJC presents Special Recognition awards to musicians, jazz educators, promoters or others that have contributed to the JAZZ tradition in Central Iowa.   Another Award known as "The Bobby Dawson Award" is also presented to a student musician involved in CJC jam sessions and activities.  For information on upcoming Hall of Fame events, contact Phyllis Leaverton at 515 / 276-0777.

Hall of Fame

Ben Harrison -2005 Inductee

Ben Harrison began playing a four-sting guitar at age eight. He has that guitar today and is still playing professionally at age 83!

In 1938, Ben got his first electric guitar and began playing with musicians while attending Roosevelt High School. Upon graduation, he joined the service where he played with the Navy Cadet Big Band under the direction of another CJC Hall of Fame member, Don East. After the service, Ben attended Drake University where he obtained his B.A. degree.

All told, Ben has played the guitar in Central Iowa for nearly 70 years, including performances with hundreds of notable musicians and in just about every type of gig imaginable – radio shows, television programs, hotel lounges, nightclubs, KRNT Theatre, casinos and private parties.

There is only one thing longer than Ben’s list of gigs. That’s the list of guitar students he has encouraged during his years in Des Moines.