Zu is an Italian instrumental/experimental music band from Rome.
Hailing from Ostia, a town near Rome, Zu are an atypical trio made of drums, electric bass, baritone saxophone and electronics. Formed in Rome in 1997, they began as composers and players for theatre performances. The band is composed of three members: Luca Mai on baritone saxophone, Massimo Pupillo on bass and Gabe Serbian on drums. Zu have released fourteen albums, including two live album and two splits, and played in festivals in Europe, America, Asia and Africa. In 2006 the band toured with the Fantômas Melvins Big Band, a superband which is a fusion of Fantômas and the Melvins.
The band are members (except for Serbian) of the Italian folk-jazz group Ardecore.
Although difficult to define, Zu's style could be characterised as a fusion of math rock, heavy metal and noise rock, but with the caveat that it does not respect boundaries or genres. The music is instrumental, and features virtuosic drumming, powerful bass and distorted saxophone.
One constant element in Zu's music is collaboration, and many of the band's albums are billed as collaborations with a guest musician (such as Mike Patton, Buzz Osbourne, Mats Gustafsson and Nobukazu Takemura). Often, a collaborator will join them at live performances as well. Members of the band also collaborate with other musical projects, most of which exist only as live performances.
John Zorn described the band as creating "a powerful and expressive music that totally blows away what most bands do these days".
In 2009, Carboniferous was voted Album Of The Year in Rock-A-Rolla magazine's Best Of 2009 poll.
Luca T. Mai - baritone saxophone,
Massimo Pupillo - bass,
Gabe Serbian - drums,
Jacopo Battaglia - drums,
Eugene Chadbourne - guitar on The Zu Side of the Chadbourne and Motorhellington,
Jeb Bishop - trombone on Igneo,
Mats Gustafsson - saxophones on How to Raise an Ox,
Xabier Iriondo - on Zu/Iceburn,
Fred Lonberg-Holm - cello on The Way of the Animal Powers,
Nobukazu Takemura - on Identification with the Enemy - A Key to the Underworld,
Spaceways inc. - on Radiale,
Roy Paci - trumpet on Bromio,
Mike Patton - vocals on some live dates and Carboniferous,
Ken Vandermark - saxophones on Igneo and Radiale,
Buzz Osborne - on Carboniferous,
Balazs Pandi - drums on 2011 tour