Drum Chart: “Rush” from Cowboy Bebop

Posted on July 25, 2021


This week, I was going to write about MuseGroup, the parent company behind MuseScore. Since the start of this summer, there’s been a huge kerfuffle involving MuseGroup’s control of Audacity. Most recently, the MuseGroup has been vaguely threatening a Chinese expatriate with refoulement in response to a MuseScore downloader browser extension.

The thing is, I don’t really know if I have anything to add to that discussion; I have to agree with the rest of the internet in saying that MuseGroup’s behavior is a bit outrageous, and I have some abstract unease about the future of MuseScore. So instead, let’s talk about something else.

I recently finished up Cowboy Bebop for the third time. When I started this watch–through back in May, I shared a drum chart for the show’s theme, “Tank!”, but I actually have a few more songs from the show charted out. The number today is “Rush”, which plays during the big fight scene for the first episode’s climax. Much like “Tank!”, we only hear about 90 seconds of “Rush” in the actual show, but it’s a real song — 3½ minutes in length with a solo section and everything.

It’s tough to describe to groove that drives this number. At first, it seems like the chart is reminiscent of “Nutville”, which is to say it alternates between a Latin feel and fast swing. The opening bassline features the ever–ubiquitous tresillo rhythm, but the drums are playing a very strange swing feel on top of it. See if you can figure out how these work together:

I don’t really get it. So I ended up listing more to the bass than the drums in order to get a sense of the groove. I have “Latin” written anytime I hear the tresillo, while “Swing” is used when I hear a driving, walking bassline. Even then, however, the bassist tends to change things up on the fly, so I had to consider the overall structure of the tune.

I got ahold of a bootleg live version that was once available on a limited edition CD boxed set, and I hear a much stronger contrast on the drums between the Latin and swing styles, with much less ad–libbing overall.

To complicate things further, the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack has an alternate arrangement of this song called “NY Rush”. Released on the Blue album, this version is heard on the episodes “Honky Tonk Women” and “Wild Horses” and has the drummer playing a strong swing groove throughout the entire tune.

Edit November 2021: After the release of the Netflix live–action Cowboy Bebop and its accompanying soundtrack album, there now exists a fourth version of this song called “Net Rush”.

So… I dunno, I guess I gravitate towards the live rendition more than anything else, and I don’t want the chart to include every subtly I suspect to be part of the tune. Whatever — we musicians can play songs how we feel, and ultimately these charts I create are my interpretation of the song. You could play the whole thing swung if you please.

There are a lot of cool figures to catch in this tune. The structure is pretty straightforward — you should be able to hear well–defined chorus sections. There’s an extended trombone solo that ends rather abruptly during the final chorus, with no definitive climax or conclusion.

I realize that this tune sounds like a bit of a mess after writing out all of these clarifications. Still, a lot of fun to play though.

Something really fascinating happens during the final measures: the tempo appears to be cut in half, and the bassist plays an offbeat walking bassline. It’s quite disorienting, and I can’t say if it was on purpose or not. I wrote in this interpretation because it certainly makes things more challenging.

I have a few more songs from the show that I felt were worth charting, so stay tuned for those.

Download PDF

“Rush” on Songwhip.

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