Originated by African Americans and fusing the influences of many different cultures, jazz is a distinctly American art form. This living, breathing music is the basis for the new Disney and Pixar film “Soul,” and now the focus of a new exhibit inside EPCOT at Walt Disney World Resort.
“The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure” is now open at The American Adventure, inviting guests on a musical tour of the United States to learn more about this colorful, inspiring and constantly evolving genre of music. This new exhibit features Joe Gardner, the musician, mentor and teacher from “Soul,” as he shares the rich and surprising history of jazz from several influential cities: New Orleans, Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“Walt Disney Imagineering is thrilled to bring the compelling story of jazz to EPCOT,” said Carmen Smith, Executive, Creative Development and Inclusion Strategies, Walt Disney Imagineering. “Our team was honored to work with jazz experts and institutions across the country to explore the rich history and influence of this truly American musical art form. We hope guests are as inspired by ‘The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure’ as our Imagineers were bringing this exhibit to life.”
In creating the exhibit, Walt Disney Imagineering collaborated with historians and curators from top jazz institutions, including the Historic New Orleans Collection and the New Orleans Jazz Museum in Louisiana, as well as the Louis Armstrong House Museum in New York. The exhibit showcases historic artifacts from world-renowned jazz musicians, including:
- Jazz legend Louis Armstrong’s Selmer trumpet
- “Jazz Jubilee” sheet music, handwritten by Jelly Roll Morton, one of the genre’s original performers and composers
- “Skin Deep” percussion sheet music of Duke Ellington drummer Louie Bellson
- Cornet belonging to Bix Beiderbecke, an early jazz soloist from the 1920s
- Drumsticks of Gene Krupa, member of influential jazz groups such as the Benny Goodman Orchestra and Tommy Dorsey’s band
- Guests will also soon be able to use the Play Disney Parks mobile app to interact with the exhibit and test their knowledge of jazz.*
This new experience is part of the continuing and historic transformation of EPCOT, as the park celebrates curiosity, discovery and the magic of possibility.