When it comes to anime and their respective soundtracks, you might not think of Jazz as the go-to style of choice. Indeed, it is not a popular genre to pick (it was actually never mainstream popular even in the history of the United States), even for soundtrack usage, but when used well it can transform the mood of a show to a very sophisticated and fun adventure!
Here are a couple of Anime Jazz soundtracks of note:
The easiest example of Jazz used in Anime, especially for more recent and Western audiences is undeniably Cowboy Bebop. Composed by the ever-illustrious Yoko Kanno, this soundtrack in particular introduced Jazz to many budding anime fans:
From exciting tracks for action and more intense scenes, to solemn pieces for sadness and tragedy, and even some funky and weird music in the more funny and everyday parts, Kanno’s composition really adds the feel of the space-opera adventure romp that made it so beloved by fans.
Lupin the Third
For the more older Anime fan, you first taste of Jazz mast most likely from Lupin the Third. A legendary anime series which recently got a continued adaptation, composer Yuji Ohno sets the mood for the adventures of master thief Arsene Lupin III:
Sakamichi no Apollon/Kids on the Slope
Another soundtrack masterfully done by Yoko Kanno, Sakamichi no Apollon/Kids on the Slope has more slice-of-life and human drama-based themes occurring. Many of the tracks featured are covers of Jazz Standards, like “Moanin'” “My Favorite Things” and “Lullaby of Birdland”.
A more cool and subdued selection of music for the calm and soothing Bartender Anime series, this album by Kaoruko Ohtake has songs to sit and drink the night away:
Other Anime with Jazz Soundtracks?
There are more shows that feature primarily or partially Jazz-flavored soundtrack (not a complete list):
Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
The Big O:
Even remixes and renditions of non-Jazz anime opening and ending themes are being produced, both in the amateur and professional level. One notable artist is of Swedish DJ Rasmus Faber, who made five Anime Jazz soundtracks (and is currently a composer for Anime works such as The Asterisk War):
Jazz Anime Music in Hi-Res?
For Hi-Res music, Jazz is definitely one of the top genres for audiophile collectors (like Classical and other music with lots of Analog instrumentation), and for the Anime fan you also have quite a selection for your listening enjoyment. There is so much more Jazz-based and inspired soundtracks in Anime, Video Games, Vocaloid, and other doujin/fanmade music, it would take quite an effort to list them all!
What are you favorite Jazz songs or albums from Anime?