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

Scott Smith -2005 Inductee

Scott Smith’s first public singing appearance was at Hoyt Sherman when he was 2 ½ years old and he hasn’t stopped performing since. He was involved with both vocal and instrumental groups throughout his school years.

He launched his professional career in 1959 at The Sands on Rush Street in Chicago. This was where he began the first of his many performances with entertainer/actress Ann Margret.

Scott eventually traveled to the West Coast where he performed with George Burns, Jack Benny and Jerry Lewis. His group was often the opening act for such names as Sarah Vaughn, Lionel Hampton, Vic Damone and Shecky Green.

Later, he spent ten years on the Vegas, Reno and Tahoe circuit and touring up and down the West Coast before eventually returning to Des Moines for family reasons where he settled in at Diamond Lil’s.

He became a popular entertainer in Des Moines where he was featured with his groups at the Captain’s Cabin, Adventureland Inn, Eddie Webster’s, Rusty Scupper, Hotel Fort Des Moines and Hyatt House.

In 1980, Scott left town with his group for Atlantic City where he played such venues as Bally’s Park Place, Harrah’s Marina and The Sands for five years before returning to Des Moines to stay.

Since then, Scott Smith has entertained thousands of Iowans at Adventureland, Fratello’s, The Cosmopolitan Club, Des Moines Golf and Country Club and Glen Oaks where he has performed regularly in addition to countless “casuals”. He has performed with The Des Moines Big Band and has enjoyed participating in the Annual Variety Club Telethon for many years.