What's good Cowboy Bebop-ish music?
April 12, 2011 9:55 AM   Subscribe

Cowboy Bebop's [amazing] soundtrack was heavily inspired by American music. What should I be listening to?

So yeah, what's good music to listen to for someone who doesn't know a thing about pre-80s American music but loves Cowboy Bebop's soundtrack to death? Admittedly Bebop's soundtrack is pretty diverse, but I'd specifically love artists who do jazz, chillout and so on (I don't really know the rest of the genres involved, sorry!)

Here's some of the Yoko Kanno tracks I love:

Words That We Couldn't Say
Mushroom Hunting
Farewell Blues
The Real Folk Blues
Space Lion
[too lazy to link at this point]
N.Y. Rush
Cat Blues
Piano Black
Chicken Bone
Black Coffee
Yo Pumpkin Head
Don't Bother None
...and pretty much everything else, too

In general, I like the quieter, chill-er songs more than the louder, action-based tracks.

This question has been covered before some 4 years ago, but didn't get enough worthwhile answers, hopefully this one will turn out differently.

Also, please no check-on-Pandora/Last.fm suggestions - Kanno's Last.fm page recommends anime soundtrack artists who don't sound anything like her work, yay for tags.

Finally, recommendations off of the Wolf's Rain and Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex soundtracks are also good.
posted by Senza Volto to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
You might want to check out -Phazz De-Phazz, Coeur de Pirate, Gotan Project, the Hotel Costes series and Mocean Worker.
posted by jeffkramer at 10:45 AM on April 12, 2011

Man, I wish I could help with identifying the American jazzy/funky roots, but I'm probably about as clueless as you are. However, I found myself enjoying the soundtrack for the k-drama Soulmate. Some of these might be longshots, but they're all kind of jazzy chillout female-vocalist type songs.

Nouvelle Vague - Dance with Me and In a Manner of Speaking
Lasse Lindh - C'mon Through
Ohm Guru - Please Please Please
Sia - Where I Belong
Mon Murmure - Jazz Cocktail (tudou.com)
posted by specialagentwebb at 10:47 AM on April 12, 2011

I don't know the Cowboy Bebop music too well, but in what I have listened to I definitely hear a debt to early 70s soul jazz, specifically the kind of stuff on CTI Records. You might want to check out Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, and Bob James.
posted by neroli at 11:01 AM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Mushroom Hunting" sounds like Mickey Mouse did guest vocals on a Fela Kuti tune. [ 1 2 3 4 5 ]

"Farewell Blues" can actually be traced to a single album, really – the iconic jazz album Kind Of Blue. That's a trumpet with a Harmon mute, which puts us squarely in Miles Davis territory, and the piano work is an obvious attempt to evoke Bill Evans' excellent accompaniment. You should go listen to the whole album, but I think I can even point to a single song on it that this is most reminiscent of: Bill Evans' wonderful "Blue In Green." And if you like Kind Of Blue, then judging from the other songs you've linked you would probably also like Miles' chill-fusion classic, In A Silent Way. Here is a good taste of that record.

"The Real Folk Blues" sounds like Neil Young to me, but I don't really know him well enough to recommend anything; maybe somebody else can.

"Adieu" is a sort of jazz piano torch song; maybe it's because I have him in my head, but I still think of Bill Evans when I hear that backing track, largely because of the ambience. Maybe check out his great trio work with his first trio, which included the masterful Scott LeFaro on bass, and which has sort of the same vibe. Sunday At The Village Vanguard, recorded just days before LeFaro died at the age of 25 in a tragic car accident, is regarded as their masterpiece, and I think you'd like it; here is one of my favorite tracks for you to sample.

"NY Rush" seems pretty post-bop-ish to me, maybe set some time in the mid to late 50s. This is sort of the most popular era of jazz, and there's a huge amount you can explore there, so I'll just recommend you one of my own personal favorites: Clifford Brown, one of the best trumpet players jazz ever knew. The reason I mention him is that the combo of trumpet and tenor sax playing the head on "NY Rush" is sort of one of Clifford's hallmarks; he worked with a couple of great tenors, most notably Sonny Rollins, and always wrote and played songs where the sax and trumpet dovetailed perfectly on the main tune. Here's a good example of the group at its peak. But that may be a little early – that's from the early fifties, and "NY Rush" sounds a little later (mostly because of the organ) so you might try some classic Coltrane, too.

This is a bit random, but "Piano Black" sort of reminds me vaguely of Duke Jordan's "No Problem #2," from his soundtrack for Les Liaisons Dangereuses. You can hear that here.

"Yo Pumpkin Head" sounds sort of like an Ellington pastiche. One of my favorites of his is the great "La Plus Belle Africaine," although you could check out the album it's on, Soul Call, which is quite good and sadly underrated.

That's probably enough to get you started, I guess.
posted by koeselitz at 11:10 AM on April 12, 2011 [10 favorites]

Finding an American that compares to the variety of music that Yoko Kanno produces is tough. But I would recommend her best work - her work on the Macross Plus soundtracks, which were available in the US on JVC. YOu may also like work by Maaya Sakamoto, a frequent collaborator of Kanno's.
posted by quibx at 11:11 AM on April 12, 2011

Not directly related, but you should listen to whatever music you discover next to this print.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 11:25 AM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Finding an American that compares to the variety of music that Yoko Kanno produces is tough.

posted by carsonb at 12:05 PM on April 12, 2011

Best answer: My all-time favorite Cowboy Bebop site, Big Big Truck, has a recommended listening page for fans who enjoy the Bebop OSTs.
posted by Maxa at 1:57 PM on April 12, 2011

The Extra Action Marching Band always reminds me of Kanno's Bebop stuff. Look them up on yourtube for NSFW visuals.
posted by builderofscience at 3:46 PM on April 12, 2011

Sorry, you may have better luck on Youtube.
posted by builderofscience at 3:48 PM on April 12, 2011

Man, going to have to check these out. I'd love it if anyone can post up music similar to the opening theme (Tank!) and Rain (Female vocal version)
posted by Canageek at 5:56 PM on April 12, 2011

Do you know about The Beautiful Losers? The lead singer has done work on some Cowboy Bebop tracks.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 9:15 PM on April 12, 2011

Why not tackle some of the influencers? Howlin' Wolf, Lightnin Hopkins, Muddy Waters for example. That's just in the bluesy realm.

Also, you might like some of the White Stripes.
posted by jander03 at 10:32 AM on June 3, 2011

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