BY ALEXIA MCKAY
Jazz music, its legends and vibrant history have been given center stage at Disney Springs and Epcot during Black History Month.
Disney World is presenting “The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure’’ at Epcot and “Celebrate Soulfully’’ at Disney Springs. Both events are inspired by the success of Disney Pixar’s “Soul” movie starring Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey.
All month long, Disney Springs has been spotlighting African American culture through food, music and art.
Restaurants such as Amorette’s Patisserie are offering special menu items inspired by “Soul” and another Black Disney classic, “The Princess and the Frog.”
While walking around, guests can marvel at four art displays, each one expressing their own interpretation of the “Soul” movie. The displays were created by young Black artists, Bee Harris, Bianca Pastel, Arrington Porter and Cory Van Lew.
“We thought it would be great to celebrate not just jazz but soul, R&B, just those great elements that are really unique and near and dear to the Black culture and Black community,” said Perry Crawley, general manager of operations at Disney Springs.
Crawley said it’s possible some specials could extend beyond February.
Jazz at Epcot
‘The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure’ is housed inside Epcot’s American pavilion. The exhibit dives into the history of jazz and takes visitors on a road trip that stops in jazz cities like New Orleans, New York, Chicago, San Juan, and Los Angeles.
Also on display are artifacts such as sheet music, trumpets and horns from jazz greats such as Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker.
Jackie Herrera, the assistant producer at Walt Disney Imagineer, was one of the people responsible for putting the exhibit together.
“Jazz really stems from Black improvisational music,” said Herrera. “But it also comes from many different cultures. So much like America, it’s a melting pot of cultures that became, sort of, the American art form. And it really just includes everyone and, therefore, we wanted to tell that story.”
The ‘Soul of Jazz’ will extend beyond February.