Summer Sounds: Leo Pellegrino of Too Many Zooz



Too Many Zooz mixes dub, soul, funk and ska in their music for a refreshingly unique sound.


New York City-born brasshouse trio Too Many Zooz is coming back to the city from touring all over the world to play at the Legendary SOB’s in lower Manhattan on August 7 at 7 p.m. The critically acclaimed musical group has collaborated with artists such as Jess Glynne on the song “So Real (Warriors)” and performed with Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks. The colorful and vibrant trio breathes life into their performances with their flamboyant style and eclectic sound. Ultimately, their quirky and exuberant nature is what has helped them attract a huge loyal fanbase on the streets and online. Too Many Zooz has millions of views on Youtube. Their debut album, “Subway Gawds,” released in 2016, marries the groovy flair of funk and jazz with catchy high energy beats of EDM, pop and rap. Leo Pellegrino (baritone sax) describes their band as “having the energy of a DJ with the communication of a jazz trio.” Their music mixes dub, soul, funk and ska to make a fun, wild hodgepodge of sound that makes you want to move. Too Many Zooz shows up and shows out, so this is a show you won’t want to miss. 

The Observer: How was Too Many Zooz created and how did you know you guys were onto something?

Leo Pellegrino: I met Matt Muirhead (trumpet) at Manhattan School of Music and first met David Parks (drums) in the subway. Everything that we did was because we had to make money. The progression of the band was due to the overwhelming response from fans. The first time we played together it just worked. So, we decided to play together and over the past couple of years people would ask, “What’s your name? What’s the name of the band? When can we hear a recording?” So we had to make a name for the band. We couldn’t decide. My friend brought up the name and he didn’t want to use it for his band so I was like, “I’ll take the name!” Then, we started recording. 

Every step of the way it was the fan support that made us feel like this is really working. A lot of times people will put so much work into a band before they even have a band. For us it was so immediate, and it just felt like people really liked it. 

TO: You guys mix a lot of genres in your music. Who are your musical influences?

LP: Personally, when I was a kid I would listen to a lot of jazz, like John Coletrane. I listen to Pepper Adams, the sax player. Then I started listening to people that could perform and blow your mind, like one of the greatest performers of all time: James Brown. I would say I want to play sax like blank, and perform like blank. So like Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, who are so cool. I have all kinds of musical influences. Being at a jazz school, you’re expected to say you listen to someone like Miles Davis. But I listened to other genres like new school: for example Justin Bieber. And I listen to rap. I really like the rapper Busta Rhymes and I get my articulation from him. 

TO: How did you collaborate with Beyoncé?

LP: Her daughter Blue Ivy was watching videos of us. Beyoncé’s musical director sent us a message, and we were in the studio and recorded all over her new album “Lemonade.” We ended up on two tracks. She ended up choosing “Daddy Lessons” from “Lemonade” for the Country Music Awards and she asked us to play it there.  

TO: Any plans for the future? 

LP: We’re working on an album right now and working on some concepts. We’re looking forward to touring some more this year.