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

Frank Perowsky -2009 Inductee

Currently touring with Liza Minnelli as well as performing with Mike Longoʼs “NY State Of The Art” 17 piece big band, Frank also finds time to compose and arrange for his own 17 piece big band, FPBB. He appears as soloist on the three CDs recorded by the Longo band: “Explosion”, “Aftermath”, and “Oasis” and his composition with lyrics by Phillip Namanworth, “Song Of My Dream(For Duke)” canbe heard on the “Oasis” CD. His latest recording, Tom McIntoshʼs “With Malice Toward None”, was recorded in 2002 by IPO Records.

Frank debuted his big band, FPBB, in July ʼ07 at New Yorkʼs Bowery Poetry Club where he presented a program of his compositions and arrangements. This includedFrankʼs first foray into combining jazz and the spoken word. Frankʼs reading of a segment of Jack Kerouacʼs “On The Road” was integrated into John Lewisʼs “Two Bass Hit”. This was followed in Sept. ʼ07 at the BPC “Howl” Festival where Frank collaborated with poet, Kirpal Gordon on the Kerouac piece with a 7 piece band.

Upon graduating from Juilliard as a clarinet major in 1958 Frank began his career in the big bands of Jimmy Dorsey, Woody Herman, Les and Larry Elgart playing the jazz tenor chair. He also began studying flute with Harold Bennett and Julius Baker. In the 60s while free-lancing in NYC he recorded and performed with Johnny Richards, Tito Rodriquez, Billy Taylor and Bill Watrous. In the 70s and 80s he played in numerous Bdwy pits and performed in backup bands for Peggy Lee, Nancy Wilson, Billy Eckstine, Mel Torme, Michel Legrand and Stan Getz. He has recorded and toured with Liza Minnelli from 1981 to the present.

In 1989 Frank toured Japan with pianist Roland Hanna where they performed Rolandʼs original compositions for flute, Frank, French Horn, Bob Johnson, and Roland on cello.

Frank began composing and arranging in his teens.  His arrangement of Bud Powellʼs composition “Bouncinʼ With Bud” was recorded by Buddy Rich on the “Class Ofʻ78” album. Roland Hanna recorded Frankʼs “Samba De La Noce” on his CD, “Double Exposure” on LRC Ltd.  1991.  Bill Watrous recorded Frankʼs arrangement of Victor Youngʼs “My Foolish Heart” in 2003 for Doubletime Records. Frank went back to his roots in 2004(he grew up in his motherʼs dance studio in Des Moines, IA,….. 8 years of tap) and performed his own cabaret act which featured himself playing the clarinet, tenor sax, tapping and singing some of his own songs.

In 1997 Frank founded his own record label “Jazzkey Music” which has a catalogue of five CDs.