«The Seatbelts» - biography, albums, songs, video clips

Seatbelts (シートベルツ Shītoberutsu, also known as Seat Belts or SEATBELTS) is a Japanese blues/jazz band led by composer and instrumentalist Yoko Kanno.

Band history

The name of the band, according to the fictional description given in the anime series Cowboy Bebop, derives from how the performers wear seatbelts to be safe while they play hardcore jam sessions.

The band performed the whole soundtrack of the anime series Cowboy Bebop and produced a total of seven albums and one live DVD. Their style is very diverse and ranges from straightforward big band jazz, blues, acoustic ballads, hard rock, country, funk to electronic, hip-hop and experimental compositions/elements.

Since the band was focused mostly on instrumental work, Seatbelts had no lead singer. However, Steve Conte (from The Contes and Crown Jewels) and Mai Yamane participated and sang on many of their songs. The lyrics of these songs were written mainly by Tim Jensen and Yoko Kanno herself. Singers Soichiro Otsuka and Gabriela Robin (rumored to be a pseudonym for Kanno) were responsible for the backing vocals on songs such as "Blue".

After a few years on hiatus, Seatbelts regrouped in 2004 to perform the soundtrack for the second Cowboy Bebop video game. They all disbanded once they released the last album.

Many of the members of Seatbelts have also worked with Kanno and with each other on other projects as well, and some have even gone on to compose their own work. For example, guitarist Tsuneo Imahori also played guitar on the soundtracks for Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Wolf's Rain (both of which were composed by Kanno), as well as composing the soundtracks for Trigun and Gungrave.

Many international musicians of some renown have appeared as guests on the Cowboy Bebop albums, and are sometimes credited as members of Seatbelts.

Musicians of Seatbelts

Japanese musicians

  • Drums: Yasuo Sano, Akira Sotoyama
  • Bass: Hitoshi Watanabe, Maki Kitada, Suzuki Bakabon
  • Guitar: Tsuneo Imahori, Masayoshi Furukawa
  • Percussion: Mataro Misawa, Ikuo Kakehashi, Yoichi Okabe
  • Trumpet: Koji Nishimura, Koshio Araki, Yusuke Hayashi, Akio Terashima
  • Trombone: Yoichi Murata, Satoshi Kawano, Hideaki Nakaji, Yoshiaka Hashimoto, Masanori Hirohara, Junko Yamashiro
  • Saxophone: Masato Honda, Shigeo Fuchino, Masakuni Takeno, Takuo Yamamoto, Osamu Koike, Naruyoshi Kikuchi
  • Flute: Hideyo Takakuwa, Kazuhiro Iwasa, Mika Hayashi
  • Tuba: Kiyoshi Sato
  • Ukulele: Ryan Boughter, Brian Brause
  • Harmonica: Nobuo Yagi, Ryuichiro Senoh
  • Strings: Masatsugu Shinozaki Group
  • Synthesizer: Keishi Urata
  • Producer/Composer/Arranger/Keyboards/Noises/Voices/Mood Setting: Yoko Kanno
  • Recording & Mixing: Masashi Yabuhara

New York musicians

  • Drums: Jim Mussen, Bobby Previte, Tony Reedus
  • Guitar: Stuw Cutler
  • Piano : Mark Soskin
  • Bass: Booker King
  • Trumpet: Steven Bernstein
  • Trombone: Josh Roseman
  • Soprano Saxophone: Steve Wilson
  • Alto Saxophone: Bob Debellis
  • Tenor Saxophone: Paul Shapiro
  • Baritone Saxophone: Jim Hartog
  • Djembe: Mike Wimberly, Jonh McDowell
  • Harmonica: Bill Lynas
  • Chorus: Paule McWilliams, Nicki Richards, Sharon Bryant-Gallwey, Lisa Fischer
  • Recording & Mixing: Rudy Van Gelder

Paris musicians

  • Guitar: Pierre Bensusan
  • Percussion and Voices: Sydney Thiam, Michel Reman, David Mirandon, Philippe Drai, Phillipe Nalry, Thierry Boucou
  • Recording & Mixing: Christophe Dupouy

Guest vocalists

  • Carla Vallet
  • Tim Jensen
  • Mai Yamane
  • Steve Conte
  • Masaaki Endoh
  • Gabriela Robin
  • Masayoshi Furukawa
  • Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch
  • SYDNEY with Sister R
  • Emily Bindiger
  • Jerzy Knetig
  • Aoi Tada
  • Raj Ramayya
  • Hassan Bohmide
  • Scott Matthew
  • Reynada Hill
  • Soichiro Otsuka
  • Ilaria Graziano


Studio recordings

  • Cowboy Bebop (1998)
  • Cowboy Bebop Vitaminless (1998)
  • Cowboy Bebop No Disc (1998)
  • Cowboy Bebop Blue (1999)
  • Jin-Roh (1999)
  • Ask DNA (2001)
  • Future Blues (2001)
  • Cowboy Bebop Tank! THE! BEST! (2004)

Live recordings

  • Future Blues DVD


  • Cowboy Bebop Remixes: Music for Freelance (1999)
  • Cowgirl Ed (2001)
  • Cowboy Bebop Boxed Set (2002)
  • Space Bio Charge (2009)

External links

  • , site with many Cowboy Bebop resources.
  • discography at MusicBrainz