“I want to be in that number…”
To celebrate Mardi Gras week, I thought it would be nice to turn our attention to all things New Orleans themed, starting with another terrific group of performers in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square – the Jambalaya Jazz Band!
What is the Jambalaya Jazz Band?
The Jambalaya Jazz Band is a group of musicians playing a lively combination of jazz and American standards such as “Paper Moon” and “Accentuate the Positive” and of course the classic number “When the Saints Go Marching In”. I’ll admit I don’t know much about jazz, but I love the American standards so I’m happy to hear music I recognize as well as expand my horizons to listen to some that I don’t. I can say that to my uneducated ear it seems a bit of a mix of Dixieland-style jazz and a blues style if that helps describe it at all!
Just like the Dapper Dans define the locale of Main Street, the Jazz Band defines the atmosphere of New Orleans Square. The area feels incomplete and too quiet when they’re not out – even when other similar music is piped in. There is nothing like the quality and spark of a live band to add energy to a location.
As the band plays for the passing crowds, children are often fascinated by the sounds and the instruments. And when the young ones stop to dance and twirl or even just stand and listen, the band will often toss Mardi Gras-colored beads to them, which always brings a smile.
Who are the performers?
Half a dozen or so musicians generally including performers on trombone, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, drum, banjo and tuba.
They wear matching, though differently colored festive outfits adding a bright splash of color as they play.
When and where can I find them?
The Jambalaya Jazz Band is usually scheduled Friday through Tuesday in New Orleans Square – though as with anything Disney, this is subject to change. Check your daily Entertainment Times Guide to see when the band is out and about.
They can typically be found performing on the steps in front of the restaurants, facing the Rivers of America.
This distinguishes them from the other smaller jazz grouping in New Orleans Square, the Royal Street Bachelors, who play on a small stage outside on the patio of the French Market restaurant.
Why spotlight them?
Nothing puts me utterly into theme and time and place like the Jazz Band playing in New Orleans Square. Hearing that music, combined with the tantalizing aromas of the restaurants and the sounds of the River puts me right into the most immersive location I’ve ever found in a Disney park.
Although we’ve lost a lot of the wonderful thematic elements of New Orleans Square in the past year including some shops, the terribly-missed serene Court of Angels, and the extraordinary and beautiful original architecture of New Orleans Square (recently changed with the forced perspective broken in order to accommodate a revamped and enlarged Club 33) – so long as I can go to New Orleans Square and hear the Jazz Band, it still feels like New Orleans to me.
The Jambalaya Jazz Band always keep my hands clapping and my feet tapping with their upbeat and joyous music. And I hope they continue to do so for many years to come.
Have you stopped to enjoy the Jambalaya Jazz Band in New Orleans Square?