The Des Moines Big Band, a storied ensemble that goes back to the 1950s, has played with some of the greatest names in jazz, from legends like Clark Terry to some of the more local household names such as Scott Smith. Led by renowned trumpeter/arranger Dave Rezek, this organization is in residence at Noce on Wednesday nights.
Scott Smith’s first public singing appearance was at Hoyt Sherman when he was 2 ½ years old and he hasn’t stopped performing since. He was involved with both vocal and instrumental groups throughout his school years.
He launched his professional career in 1959 at The Sands on Rush Street in Chicago. This was where he began the first of his many performances with entertainer/actress Ann Margret.
Scott eventually traveled to the West Coast where he performed with George Burns, Jack Benny and Jerry Lewis. His group was often the opening act for such names as Sarah Vaughn, Lionel Hampton, Vic Damone and Shecky Green.
Later, he spent ten years on the Vegas, Reno and Tahoe circuit and touring up and down the West Coast before eventually returning to Des Moines for family reasons where he settled in at Diamond Lil’s.
He became a popular entertainer in Des Moines where he was featured with his groups at the Captain’s Cabin, Adventureland Inn, Eddie Webster’s, Rusty Scupper, Hotel Fort Des Moines and Hyatt House.
In 1980, Scott left town with his group for Atlantic City where he played such venues as Bally’s Park Place, Harrah’s Marina and The Sands for five years before returning to Des Moines to stay.
Since then, Scott Smith has entertained thousands of Iowans at Adventureland, Fratello’s, The Cosmopolitan Club, Des Moines Golf and Country Club and Glen Oaks where he has performed regularly in addition to countless “casuals”. He has performed with The Des Moines Big Band and has enjoyed participating in the Annual Variety Club Telethon for many years.