Disney’s regional jazz exhibit, “The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure,” opens at The National Jazz Museum in Harlem on Feb. 10, coinciding with Black History Month. Visitors are joined by Joe Gardner—the musician, mentor and teacher from Disney and Pixar’s “Soul”—on a tour as they discover the rich and surprising history of jazz.
Disney is thrilled to partner with The National Jazz Museum to bring this experience to Harlem—a city well-known for its vibrant jazz scene, which fueled the careers of many future jazz icons. Acting as a tribute to a musical artform that was originated by African Americans, the exhibit illustrates the many different cultures and creators who influenced this evolving genre. Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative force behind Disney experiences, partnered with The National Jazz Museum to bring this story to life.
“Like the film that inspired this exhibit, ‘The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure’ is a tribute to the human experience,” said Carmen Smith, senior vice president, creative development, product/content & inclusive strategies. “It was here in Harlem that jazz not only evolved as an international sensation but a vehicle for social change. The genre’s enduring influence is a palpable example of the barriers that can be broken when ambition and artistry meet passion and purpose. We’re proud to partner with the National Jazz Museum to preserve and celebrate that special kind of magic.”
While in Harlem, the exhibit will include a unique collection of artifacts curated by The National Jazz Museum, including a player piano, a working 78rpm Victrola, and Duke Ellington’s white grand piano. Additionally, there will be maquettes of characters Joe Gardner and Dorothea Williams, and virtual experiences via the Play Disney Parks app.
“If jazz was born in New Orleans, it spent a lot of time growing up in the Harlem community, and that energy is palpable, even today,” says National Jazz Museum in Harlem Executive Director Tracy Hyter-Suffern. “Our commitment to exploring the Roots & Routes of Jazz emphasizes the ways Black music continues to shape society and global culture. Harlem is one of the world’s cultural destination points. Our partnership with Disney is a unique opportunity to celebrate Jazz, community and Harlem.”
“The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure” at The National Jazz Museum, located at 58 West 129th Street in New York, New York opens Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. The museum is open Thursday through Saturday from 12 p.m. through 5 p.m., and masks are required. Proof of vaccination is required for visitors over 12 years old. The National Jazz Museum is currently operating on an advanced reservation system. Please visit www.jmih.org to learn more about the museum and to plan your trip.
Previously housed in New Orleans and Kansas City, the exhibit will be in Harlem until Aug. 31. To learn more about the exhibit, visit www.disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog.
The mission of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem (NJMH) is to preserve, promote and present jazz by inspiring knowledge, appreciation and the celebration of jazz locally, nationally and internationally. They tell the truth about jazz and fuel their mission through four Core Programs: Education; Jazz &… (Community Engagement & Performance); Exhibits & Collections; and Partnerships & Collaborations. Programming and their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy represent their commitment to showcasing jazz and jazz-adjacent voices and perspectives that characterize and welcome the most inclusive diversity of audiences.
NJMH invites in-person and online audiences to join the jazz in Harlem experience. Their world-renowned Artistic Directors Jon Batiste and Christian McBride contribute to the creative vision of their exhibits and outreach, and curate much of their programming. Jazz is a living, evolving organism expressed through connections with real people. Their vision is to make jazz accessible to everyone on the planet. They are a living, evolving museum for the people, center for jazz and a place in Harlem where visitors gather to enjoy history and music, and where artists come to play, rehearse, create or drop-in, even when no one else is there, just to be in the space that so many others have passed through.
The Museum offers year-round educational programs for students of all ages. Their collaborations with schools, businesses, arts and other organizations bring their innovative content to the global community.