Zu (band)

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Zu Credit Valerio Pampanini.jpg
Background information
OriginRome, Italy
GenresMath rock, noise rock, punk jazz, grindcore
Years active1999–present
  • Luca T. Mai
  • Jacopo Battaglia
  • Massimo Pupillo
  • Tomas Järmyr

Zu is an Italian instrumental experimental music group from Rome. While their line-up of baritone sax, bass guitar and drums is typical of a jazz trio, their aggressive and hard-driving music shares much in common with extreme metal for a style that Allmusic says "defies easy categorization."[1] Zu are also known for collaborating with a wide variety of musicians, and have been described as "masters at adapting to their guests' musical backgrounds".[2]


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 Tomas Järmyr 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 supergroup which is a fusion of Fantômas and the Melvins.

The band are members 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. 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 Osborne, 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.


Zu live at Roadburn Festival 2017


Major collaborators[edit]


Singles and music videos[edit]

  • Carbon (2009)
  • Soulympics (2009)
  • Goodnight, Civilization (2014)
  • Cortar Todo (2015)


  1. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/artist/zu-mn0000234000/biography
  2. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/album/carboniferous-mw0000810215
  3. ^ "Welcome Tomas Järmyr!". zuism.net. 2015-06-05. Retrieved 2016-03-19.

External links[edit]