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‘Soul’ themed exhibit that dives deep into jazz history coming to Harlem in February

‘The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure’ at EPCOT
Louis Armstrong’s trumpet as pictured in “The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure” at Epcot.
Photo: Kent Phillips

A “Soul” themed jazz exhibit is making its way to Harlem this February.

Disney’s regional jazz exhibit “The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure” will open at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem on Feb. 10. The exhibit was first introduced at The American Adventure inside EPCOT at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando and has previously been hosted in New Orleans and Kansas City.

“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.”

The exhibit, the opening of which coincides with the beginning of Black History Month, acts as a tribute to a musical art form originated by African Americans. The exhibit highlights many different cultures and creators who influenced this evolving genre, and visitors can join Joe Gardner, the musician from Disney and Pixar’s hit movie “Soul,” as they tour through the rich history of jazz.

During its run in Harlem, the exhibit will include a collection of jazz artifacts curated by the museum, including Duke Ellington’s white grand piano, a player piano, and a working 78rpm Victrola. The exhibit will also include maquettes of “Soul” characters Joe Gardner and Dorothea Williams as well as virtual experiences that visitors can interact with on 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” will be on display until Aug. 31. The National Jazz Museum is located at 58 West 129th Street and 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. For more information or to reserve and your entry in advance, visit www.jmih.org.  To learn more about the exhibit, visit www.disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog.

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