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Arts & Culture

‘Brass-house’ band Too Many Zooz set to thrill Fete

From subways to stage, rising band scheduled to perform in Providence April 18

Senior Staff Writer
Monday, April 15, 2019

Too Many Zooz members, Leo Pellegrino, Matt Doe and David “King of Sludge” Parks, are known for their humble beginnings in the New York City subways. They cite jazz, classical, electronic and hip hop music as some of their primary musical influences.

Self-described as a “brass-house” trio, Too Many Zooz boasts an impressive sonic profile, with pop songs acclaimed by The FADER, a performance with Beyoncé at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards and an appearance on the track “Daddy Lessons” of Beyoncé’s album “Lemonade.” The group is expected to perform in Providence at Fete Music Hall this coming Thursday.

Too Many Zooz, which consists of Leo Pellegrino on baritone saxophone, Matt Doe on trumpet and David “King of Sludge” Parks on drums, played their way to fame by first performing in the New York City subway. One of their performances went viral on YouTube in 2014, and since then, TMZ has produced five EPs as well as a full-length album titled “Subway Gawdz.”

As for how the band came together, Doe explained the group’s history. “Myself and Leo went to college together at the Manhattan School of Music, and the King of Sludge at that time was playing in a band with Leo. … One day, the King of Sludge said to the rest of (the band), … ‘I’m going to go down to the subway,’” Doe detailed. Over the course of the next two or three months, it became a habit of the trio to play in the subway, Doe continued. “We were like, ‘Cool, …we made some bread,’ and it just felt like something we could harness.” The group came together, and “out of necessity, we formed a band name,” Doe added.

The band is well-known for baritone saxophonist Pellegrino’s iconic, high-energy dances that entertain audiences while the group juggles the intense sounds and rhythms characteristic of their repertoire. Many of their viral videos include such dances, and one video set in a parking garage uses a car alarm as a metronome for the group’s melody and moves.

The members of the group build on their prior musical knowledge and training in their current work. “Jazz and classical music was obviously a big part of our upbringing,” Doe said. “The King of Sludge had studied West African music, previously to moving to New York. … For us, that was the only formal training we brought to the subway.” Doe further elaborated on the role of hip hop and electronic music in the group’s original sound. “Dubstep was in every commercial at that time,” Doe said, citing Skrillex as a point of influence for the band.

Alongside their viral videos, their high-energy performances established Too Many Zooz as a prominent force in the pop instrumental scene. Their manager, Steve Hutton, spoke to the group’s progress over the past two years. “The live shows have improved their pacing. … It’s more thought out and more of a performance and not just playing their instruments in front of people,” Hutton said.

Too Many Zooz is scheduled to play in Providence on Thursday, April 18, and audience members can look out for Pellegrino’s signature moves at the lively brass-house performance.

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