Jazz Takes Center Stage in Pixar’s Soul

Music has always been an integral component of Pixar’s films. That is why, when creating Soul, the charming new movie starring Jamie Foxx, they wanted to ensure they captured jazz authentically.

They achieved this by recruiting Grammy nominee Jon Batiste to write the jazz sequences for the film. Additionally, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails created an original score that blends Earthly settings with cosmic realms in The Great Before.

Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have established themselves as two of Hollywood’s most versatile composers. Their diverse work spans from David Fincher’s intense scores to Pixar’s Soul’s whimsical acoustic music – earning them two Oscar nominations for Best Original Score each.

At a press interview for Disney and Pixar’s animated film Soul, Nine Inch Nails frontmen talked about their work on the soundtrack for the film as well as how their music fits within an overall artistic movement.

One of the most remarkable elements of the movie is its musical soundtrack, which seamlessly blends jazz with a new age vibe. According to the band, their composition was inspired by New York City.

The film follows middle-school band teacher Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), whose lifelong dream is to become a jazz musician. When he performs at a club, his dreams come close to being realized until an accident separates his soul from his body. To reunite these two parts of himself, Joe must journey to The Great Before, a place where spirits are nurtured before they return to Earth.

Joe arrives at The Great Before, where he meets many spirits including an optimistic 22 (voiced by Tina Fey), who attempts to convince him that life isn’t worth living. It is here that they meet music legend Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett).

Bassett was drawn to Dorothea because she saw her as an influential character in Joe’s tale. She said she took inspiration from real-life jazz legends such as Betty Carter and Dorothy Donegan when crafting this character.

In addition to the film’s music, the soundtrack includes original jazz compositions by recording legend Jon Batiste. The former CBS’The Late Show with Stephen Colbert bandleader arranged and composed music for scenes on Earth that incorporate sounds of the city.

Pete Docter, director of Soul, spoke highly of Batiste’s involvement in the project. He described her as a “key weapon” and noted how important it was for him to get at the core of both the story and characters’ souls.

Jon Batiste and Trent Reznor’s musical chemistry was instrumental in making their music fit seamlessly into the overall story. In an interview with Rolling Live Studios, Batiste expressed that his style matched up perfectly with the film’s theme – jazzy and funk-infused. He added that they are “thousands of percent delighted to be a part of this journey.”

Jon Batiste

If you’re a fan of late night talk show hosts, Jon Batiste is likely familiar to you. He serves as musical director and bandleader for “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” where his band Stay Human serves as the house band.

He has performed with musicians such as Sting, Prince, and Wynton Marsalis. His infectious energy and upbeat outlook have won him over fans and colleagues alike.

Pixar’s next animated film, Soul, features legendary jazz pianist Jon Batiste creating original compositions for the soundtrack. He collaborated with two Academy Award-winning composers – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Social Network).

After a competitive selection process, the pair was chosen to compose Soul’s score. Their jazz compositions set the mood for the film and capture New York City’s vibrant music scene through various genres and styles that complement it.

They’ve achieved this by fusing traditional and electronic elements of music, creating something completely unique to the film. This marks Pixar’s first venture into selecting such a diverse team of musicians – an impressive choice!

Batiste is an acclaimed musician and active social media user. His Twitter account boasts over 500,000 followers, while YouTube sees him share official content as well as lifestyle vlogs with his viewers.

His social media profiles are a wealth of information about his life and career. You can find everything from his most recent relationships to his family details and how much money he makes each month.

As you can see, his social media presence is impressive and it’s no surprise that he was chosen to compose the music for Pixar’s new film Soul. Fans of jazz and soul music are sure to love this soundtrack!

Batiste is married to Suleika Jaouad and they have a daughter named Isabella. They began dating when both 13 years old, and their relationship has lasted almost ten years. Throughout that time together, the couple has shared several moments in the spotlight including attending award shows like the Oscars or Grammys together.

Mercer Ellington

Music has always been an integral element in Pixar’s films, from Toy Story to Coco. That’s why jazz takes center stage in Soul, the new Disney-Pixar movie about a middle school band teacher (voiced by Jamie Foxx) with big dreams of becoming a professional musician.

Music is a major element in this animated film, but there’s much more that goes into creating this unique experience. Jon Batiste created an exciting jazz scene for this project – one that will captivate viewers everywhere!

In addition to the jazz sequences, Batiste also composed the original songs featured in the film. His music was inspired by jazz’s racial history and still resonates today with its underlying messages and themes.

At the same time, he also took inspiration from classic jazz musicians like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Billy Taylor. These individuals had a major impact on shaping modern-day jazz music and remain an integral part of popular culture today.

Soul includes a virtual tour guide who introduces viewers to all these artists and their contributions to jazz history. He also displays instruments used in making it happen, like Duke’s white piano or Louis’ trumpet.

Soul captures the delight of listening to great jazz music, which is evident in its soundtrack – featuring 23 score pieces written by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (who won a Golden Globe for their work on The Social Network) plus 16 original songs composed by Jon Batiste that appear throughout the movie.

Pixar took great care to create an immersive atmosphere for their characters in The Great Before. Animation supervisor Jude Brownbill explained that the “ethereal cosmic realms of The Great Before” were designed to reflect the diversity found within jazz music.

The result is an exquisite film that seamlessly merges a New York jazz fantasia with body swap comedy. Director Pete Docter and Kemp Powers worked together on it, while voice talent included Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad, Ahmir Questlove Thompson and Angela Bassett.


Disney/Pixar decided to make an animated film about jazz music, knowing it would be difficult to create an authentic soundtrack. That is why they sought advice from renowned musicians like Herbie Hancock and Terri Lyne Carrington for assistance.

Soul is a heartwarming story about Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), who’s been dreaming of playing jazz at New York City’s legendary Half Note club. But one small mistake sends him on an incredible journey to The Great Before–another dimension where new souls develop personalities, quirks and interests before arriving on Earth.

Ultimately, the film affirms that music is the perfect way to get lost in a moment. It also delves into what makes life worthwhile and emphasizes the significance of chasing after your dreams.

Pixar used “real-time animation” for Soul, which uses multiple cameras to capture musical instrument performances at various speeds and angles. This allowed them to digitally save and program notes played into the animation, giving viewers an experience as close as possible to watching a real musician perform live.

Pixar’s team strives for authenticity with each movie they create, and we are delighted that they have successfully translated jazz’s emotional and improvisational qualities into an animated realm. Their dedication to detail is a hallmark of their work, so we applaud their achievement!

We adore how they’ve captured a true New York City aesthetic in their film. That was an important inspiration for them, and they achieved it with help from internationally-acclaimed musician Jon Batiste.

Additionally, Pixar has recruited Oscar winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to compose an original score for the film. These two have been working together for years, but this marks their first time scoring a feature film for Pixar.

So far, Pixar’s movie has earned an incredible 100% fresh rating from critics on renowned site Rotten Tomatoes – an amazing accomplishment for any Pixar production! We’re delighted that it’s receiving such glowing praise!