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

Steve “Toad” Stewart -2005 Inductee

Trombonist Steve Stewart was born to musical parents and attended Roosevelt High School before obtaining music degrees from both Drake University and North Texas State University. He taught instrumental music (including jazz band) at Carlisle Schools from 1969 to 1994. 

During his musical career, Steve played with most of the better known musicians in the Des Moines area in styles ranging from Dixieland to swing and bebop to rhythm and blues. He is most noted for his 30 year career as lead trombonist for the Des Moines Big Band. 

In 1960, Steve played and toured with the Buddy Morrow Orchestra and performed in England as part of the Friendship Force exchange programs in 1980. Though Steve had offers to join the Woody Herman Band (one of his favorites), he opted to remain in his hometown of Des Moines with his family. Steve passed away in early 2004.