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

Jim Oatts -2008 Inductee

Jim Oatts grew up in a musical family, living in Earlham and Jefferson, Iowa. His father Jack (also a CJC Hall of  Fame inductee) , a professional jazz musician and educator, was a guiding force in Jim's musical development.

During the 70's Jim joined the trumpet rock band Chase. Jim, along with Dartanyan Brown was fortunate to record the last Chase Album "Pure Music" before Bill and several other band members were killed in an airplane accident. In recent years, Chase Revisited has performed concerts in Chicago, Minneapolis, and Boston.

He toured and recorded with the Stan Kenton Orchestra and the grammy-award winning Machito Latin Jazz Orchestra. Other tours include Woody Herman and the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. In addition, Jim Oatts has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Doc Severinsen, Tony Bennett, Al Martino, Anita O'Day, Joe Williams, Vic Damone, Clark Terry, "Toots" Theilman, and others. Jim currently leads the Des Moines Big Band. During his 25-year tenure as leader, Jim produced the band's five cds and three specials for Iowa Public Television. The band performs Monday evenings at Adventureland Inn in Altoona. He also performs with the Tony Valdez Large Band (IRRMA Hall of Fame inductee).   Jim has been leading the Des Moines Big Band for over 25 years.

Also an inductee in the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Jim recently retired from teaching band after 27 years in Iowa public schools and is currently teaching trumpet at Simpson College in Indianola.