At “The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure,” Joe Gardner, the musician, mentor and teacher from Disney and Pixar’s “Soul,” takes visitors on a tour as they discover the rich and surprising history of jazz. The exhibit was first introduced at The American Adventure inside EPCOT – a celebration of the magic that happens when we create together – as a tribute to a musical art form that originated by African Americans and fuses influences from many different cultures. Today, we are thrilled to bring this once exclusive EPCOT experience beyond the parks and into the cities where jazz took root and grew into the genre we know today.
Starting Oct. 26, 2021, and into the following year, the exhibit will come to three museums across the country: The New Orleans Jazz Museum in New Orleans, the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, and the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. Walt Disney Imagineering partnered with these local museums to recreate an EPCOT experience for visitors and residents to enjoy in their hometown – illustrating the legacy each region impressed upon jazz’s dynamic history and evolving culture.
Musician and co-composer of Disney and Pixar’s “Soul,” Jon Batiste, hopes the takeaway from this exhibit is one that makes people want to sing, dance, and feel the transcendence that jazz evokes. Similar to the joy and deeply rooted nostalgia Walt Disney created in his theme parks, “jazz really has the ability to do that and add to that vision in a way that’s tremendous,” Batiste remarks.
Watch as John Dennis, executive creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering, and Jon Batiste dive into the history of jazz and its ability to bring us together.
Each installment of the “The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure” experience will feature a unique collection of artifacts curated by local museums. Visitors will also find two maquettes of characters Joe Gardner and Dorothea Williams, and are also invited to make the experience virtual by snapping a photo with Joe and the band, and by testing their knowledge of jazz and interacting with the exhibit by using the Play Disney Parks mobile app.
The first destination of this musical tour begins in a region commonly considered to be the “birthplace of jazz.” At the New Orleans Jazz Museum in New Orleans, the exhibit will open to visitors on Oct. 26.
The exhibit will arrive at the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, Missouri on Dec. 10, showcasing the region’s lasting influence on the genre, and the prolific musicians who pumped creativity into the arteries of America’s heartland.
In Feb. 2022, “The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure” will come to the National Jazz Museum in New York City – home to the Harlem Renaissance – where celebrated icons like Duke Ellington once performed.
If you happen to be in one of these marvelous cities, we welcome you to embark on this musical journey with us!