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

Don East -2003 Inductee

Talk to most players who knew or worked with pianist Don East and you’ll get the same response – he was a musician’s musician. 

“He was harmonically advanced,” said Susie Miget. “His arranging skills were incredible,” commented Mel Hrubitz. “And then he had this vibes thing going for him,” added Stu Calhoon.


Born and raised in Des Moines, Don played all of the clubs in the area. His groups included the best players around and when he wasn’t the leader, Don was a sought after accompanist for many greats who were traveling through Iowa.


An original member of the Des Moines Big Band, Don’s arrangements can still be found in the band’s book.
Don passed away in 1984