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

Helen Gale -2002 Inductee

Born in Chicago and raised in Ames, Helen Gale began her musical career in a dance studio in downtown Des Moines in the late 1940’s.  She was quickly introduced to the jazz scene by local musicians and began playing at many of the area’s most popular nightspots – Tony’s Venetian Room, The Office Lounge (where she worked with other Hall of Fame inductees Bobby Parker and Ross Cornelison) and The Green Parrot.

In addition to her many nightclub engagements, Helen’s calendar was always filled with gigs for Ralph Zarnow and Don Hoy, playing everything from bar mitzvahs to circuses!