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

Dartanyan ("Dart) Brown -2007 Inductee

Growing up in East Des Moines with musician parents Ellsworth and Mary Alice Brown, Dartanyan Brown was exposed to lots of bebop music at an early age with local musicians such as Speck Redd, Wes Bettis and Frank Perowsky around. Dart sang in the YMCA boys chorus as a youngster and by the late 1960’s and 70’s, Dart was a fixture on the Des Moines music scene playing with many of the best players.

Dartanyan attended Drake University for a journalism degree but also learned to read music from Bob Weast and studied upright bass with John Ehrlich. All this time, Dart continued to play in various groups around Des Moines until he had an opportunity to join up with the nationally known recording group, Chase. He toured with Chase for 17 months until the tragic death of trumpeter, Bill Chase forced them to disband.

Dart returned to Drake University to play in the Jazz Band and finish up his degree. This was when he played in the group known as Midwest Express, one of the most memorable musical groups that ever existed in Des Moines. Many players went through that band in three years including Marcia Miget, Big Mike Edwards, Danny Nicholson and John Grguric. The music was a combination of blues, jazz and R & B and had a large following at Ernie’s Urban Lounge.

Brown and his wife, Marcia moved to Los Angeles for a while before beginning a four year residency at the University of Montana where they taught jazz improvisation through a wonderful Artists-in-schools program. Later, Dart moved back to Des Moines once again and became heavily involved in electronic music.

Today Dartanyan Brown lives in Marin County, California where he teaches at the Marin Academy. He is an inductee in the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame and continues to perform and teach in Des Moines when he visits family every summer. You can learn more about Dartanyan Brown at Dartanyan's Website