Anybody in Santa Barbara who wants to see a saxophone player who can play and dance at the same time will get their chance Oct. 8, when New York City trio Too Many Zooz takes the stage of SOhO Restaurant & Music Club to deliver a high-energy set of its trademark brasshouse music.
Hearing brasshouse live is a rare opportunity, since the genre is essentially a domain that Too Many Zooz presides over alone. Consisting of baritone saxophonist Leo P, trumpeter Matt Doe, and drummer King of Sludge, who coined the term “brasshouse,” the trio will perform a mix of improvisation and its most popular songs, centered on the blaring bari sax riffs of Mr. P.
Too Many Zooz made a name for itself playing in the subway stations of New York City, referenced in the name of its 2016 debut album “Subway Gawdz.” Many videos of the band performing in subway stations can be found on YouTube, and some of its official music videos also feature the band in this setting. The music video for its 2017 song “Bedford” begins with the group playing on a subway platform, before moving its performance onto a subway train that pulls into the station.
Be it in music videos or live shows, you won’t find Mr. P standing still as he blows his sax. According to the saxophonist, incorporating dance moves into his performances originated prior to the band’s formation. When he played in a cruise ship band at the age of 18, Mr. P began moving around onstage, which made the performances more entertaining.
“That just made more people want to come to the shows,” he recalled.
Once Too Many Zooz started performing in the subway stations, it took Mr. P about a year and a half to mesh his dance moves with his saxophone playing to the point he was confident. This in part entailed biting down harder on his mouthpiece and changing his embouchure so his sax remained in his mouth as he danced. According to Mr. P and one of the band’s press releases, others, namely the producers of the hit video game “Fortnite,” caught onto the saxophonist’s dance moves and stole them to use in the game. Mr. P is currently suing its creator Epic Games.
Though his initial reaction to the alleged theft was that it was “cool” the producers at Epic Games took notice of his performance, he also wanted credit for his moves. Because an attorney approached him and offered to represent him free of charge, Mr. P said pursuing litigation is a “no-brainer.”
Referring to his instrument as the “skeleton” of Too Many Zooz’s songwriting process, Mr. P. said his sax riffs are usually the launching point for new songs and improvisations. Though he anticipates the upcoming tour will feature a balance between set songs and improvised sections, it’s not uncommon for the band to favor one over the other.
“If we do too much of one thing, we will almost rebelliously start improvising a whole set,” he said.
While gigs where people pay to hear the band perform tend to be more heavily focused on set songs over improvisations, the opposite is true for parties and other similar events, as improvised sections tend to have higher energy and a more synergistic relationship with crowd reactions.
“The thing about improvising is that you can ride the wave that is the crowd,” he said.
In the midst of the upcoming tour, Too Many Zooz will drop a new EP on Halloween called “ZombiEP.” Describing the new release’s music as more “spooky” than his band’s past output, “ZombiEP” will also tell a story about a fictionalized version of Too Many Zooz that goes to a music festival where everyone turns into zombies.Tickets for Too Many Zooz’s SOhO concert cost $20 and can be purchased online at www.sohosb.com. Doors to the venue open at 8 p.m. and the show begins at 9 p.m. SOhO Restaurant & Music Club is at 1221 State St. #205.