Cowboy Bebop Live showcases anime music with 14-piece band – Orlando Sentinel

Fans of the cult classic anime “Cowboy Bebop” can experience the show in a whole new way as the Central Florida-based Bebop Bounty Big Band presents live music from the series.

“Cowboy Bebop Live” is coming to Sanford and Ocala for two upcoming shows, with musicians playing in sync with clips on a screen. Dreamt up by trombonist and bandleader Corey Paul, the two-hour performance (with intermission) features a 14-piece jazz ensemble and music from the show.

“It’s a 26-episode anime that came out in Japan in 1998. It was released in English in the United States on Toonami in 2001,” said Paul, recounting a brief history of “Cowboy Bebop.” “Even if you’ve never seen the show before, by the end of this two-hour block, you should be able to kind of pick up what it is all about.”

The soundtrack, Paul said, contains “high-octane jazz,” big band tunes and “exciting spy music.”

“Cowboy Bebop Live” was dreamt up by bandleader and trombonist Corey Paul. (Courtesy Cowboy Bebop Live)

“If you just have the music, it’s great. If you just watch the show, it’s great. But I don’t think that there’s anything out there that’s combining it in this way,” he said. “When you hear this stuff, there’s a lot of funk, a lot of blues and a lot of bebop. These musicians have to be able to wear a lot of hats.”

While all of the performers on stage are working hard, especially the drummer responsible for staying in sync with the screen, Paul spent countless hours arranging to make this happen.

“After years of enjoying the music, I eventually transcribed all of the music from scratch. I’m very protective of my book,” he said.  “These are full big band charts. It takes a healthy amount of time. Once I decided to put this show together, it took me probably about a year to finally feel like I had a show put together.”

“Cowboy Bebop Live” presents music from the cult classic anime show. (Courtesy Cowboy Bebop Live)

In February 2022, Paul and his band crammed into the now-defunct Geek Easy to present this new concept, which was well received. In the past year, “Cowboy Bebop Live” has made its way into Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, The Ritz Theater and Blue Bamboo, in addition to shows in Jacksonville and St. Petersburg.

Following this month’s Sanford and Ocala dates, the band is heading to Wasabi Con in Jacksonville in October and then Atlanta, Winston-Salem, Durham and Charlotte on a multi-state tour.

“When I first put this together, I had no idea how popular it would be,” Paul said. “We get a lot of requests on social media asking where we’ll be or asking if we’ll come to their city. It makes me feel like a rockstar, but I’m just a trombone player.”

“Cowboy Bebop Live” was dreamt up by bandleader and trombonist Corey Paul, who wanted to pay homage to the anime by performing the show’s music live. (Courtesy Cowboy Bebop Live)

While putting this live experience together has required a lot of time, hard work and money, Paul said the end result is worthwhile.

“This group takes an unbelievable amount of time and effort, but it’s kind of my baby, so it’s worth it,” he said. “It’s a love letter to the series. I tried to honor the show as best as I could.”

If you go

“Cowboy Bebop Live” is at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Ritz Theater (201 S. Magnolia Ave. in Sanford) and 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Reilly Arts Center (500 N.E. 9th St. in Ocala). Tickets range from $20-$40 before taxes and fees. For more information, visit

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