Italian trio Zu pride themselves on their work ethic and ability to battle adversity. Since forming in Rome in 1997, they have successfully performed their innovative mix of baritone saxophone, bass and drums at 1,000-plus gigs throughout Europe, North America, Asia and Africa.

Unfortunately their decade-long streak of never canceling gigs mid-tour was broken last June in Japan during a joint jaunt with Fugazi bassist Joe Lally. Scheduled to play 12 dates, the combo pulled the plug three shows in, citing mistreatment by booking agent Valse Hot. Coincidentally, Lally’s father passed away the next day, which would have forced his departure regardless.

In a statement issued last summer, Zu stated they were “sad, sorry and furious,” and they promised to return. True to their word, their third Japanese tour is scheduled to start next week. Touring in support of “Intermediate Spirit Receiver,” a collaboration with Italian turntablist Okapi that will be released soon by Japanese label Dotlinecircle, rumor has it that they may be back again for more concerts before yearend.

Impossible to pigeonhole into one specific genre, elements of punk, jazz, rock, art-metal and hardcore surface in their abstract compositions. Taking full advantage of all offers to collaborate that come their way, they have played in studio and on stage with many acclaimed musicians, including members of Sonic Youth, Can, The Stooges, Nomeansno and Japanese electronic artist Nobukazu Takemura. They recently gigged through Europe with prolific alterna-rocker Mike Patton (who brought Zu to Japan to open for Fanto^mas in 2005) and will be recording an album with him in June that will include a guest spot from The Melvins. Artists they would like to work with in the future include EYE and Yoshimi P-We from Vooredoms, as well as Ikue Mori.

Zu play March 24 at Shibuya O-Nest, Tokyo; 25 at Club Shaft, Sendai; 26 at Sandinista, Yamagata; 28 at Super Deluxe, Tokyo; 29 at Kd Japon, Nagoya (early show); 29 (late show) and 31 at Unagidani Sunsui, Osaka; April 2 at Shibuya O-Nest, Tokyo. For more information, visit www.dotlinecircle.com.