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.

Beginning in October of 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.  The event location relocated to Noce in downtown Des Moines in 2017.    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 CJC Director, Abe Goldstien at abegold1951@gmail.com.

Hall of Fame


  • Phyllis Leaverton — Often referred to as the “Queen of CJC,” Phyllis became active in the organization from its inception in 1988. At the time her son, Rod, was a high school jazz guitar player who volunteered for CJC. Phyllis supported her son’s interest in jazz by volunteering as well. In 1996, the CJC board elected Leaverton as its executive director, a position she held until 2017. During her tenure, the organization sponsored monthly jam sessions for area students, a volunteer big band, middle school and high school jazz clinics/festivals, the Des Moines Jazz Hall of Fame and a one-day jazz festival featuring Des Moines musicians. It’s a tribute to Leaverton that those activities are still going strong and so is Phyllis, who makes it a point to attend every CJC event.