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

Robert "Bobby" Parker -2001 Inductee

Bobby Parker was THE jazz drummer in Des Moines for five decades and it seems that he played with virtually every good player in town.  Influenced by drummer Jo Jones and known for his swinging brush technique, Bobby worked with Don East from 1947 to 1950.  He worked the Venitian Room with Walter Atkin's Four Notes in 1952 and 1953.  He worked with many of the other early Hall Of Fame inductees including Speck Redd, Francis Bates, Helen Gale and Ross Cornelison.  He played at the Offfice Lounge with Helen Gale, Ross Cornelison  and singer Cheryl Carpenter.  Later, he played in the house band at Johnny Critelli's Tropical Lounge with Francis Bates.  Over the years, he the opportunity to play with many of jazz greats that came through Des Moines, including Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge, Eddie Peabody, Pearl Bailey, Mary Lou Williams, The Harmonicats and even the great Art Tatum.  One of his last long running engagements was at the Savery Hotel with Irene Myles, Jim Bierma and eventually Julius Brooks.