Born Stuart “Patrick Jude” Zender on March 18th, 1974 in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. At age 7, he moved to the United States. He grew up in Norristown until he was 15, when he would move back to the UK. He left school when he was 16 and went straight in to music by working as a light man for the punk-circus outfit Archaos. Zender originally started off by playing a little snare drum before moving on to bass.
Before joining Jamiroquai, SZ had only been playing the bass for around 2 years – but he appeared to have a natural gift for the instrument. As part of his learning process, SZ learned how to play (note for note) the bass parts of Jaco Pastorius and Alphonso Johnson’s work on the Weather Report “Black Market” album (all by ear too!).
“Stuart cites the following bassists as having a high influence on his playing; Nathaniel Phillips, Stanley Clarke, Alphonso Johnson, Chuck Rainey, Larry Graham, Bootsy Collins, Verdine White, James Jamerson, Bernard Edwards, Paul Jackson, Helmut Hatler.”
Before joining Jamiroquai, Stuart met Jason Kay through Archaos’ ex-drummer Nick Van Gelder (the first drummer in Jamiroquai), and went to an audition for Jamiroquai. They really liked his stuff, and that was the beginning of the Jamiroquai odyssey. The original band consisted of Jay Kay on vocals, Stuart Zender on bass, Nick Van Gelder on drums, and Toby Smith on keyboards. That was in the beginning of 1993. Stuart would become one of the most respected and influential players of the 20th century and beyond. As Jamiroquai progressed, SZ became one of the most recognisable members of the band. But after falling for former All Saint singer Melanie Blatt and the pending birth of their child Lily, Stuart decided to leave Jamiroquai in 1998 before the release of the bands 4th album “Synkronized”.
During his time with the band they won numerous awards, including MTV awards, an Ivor Novello writing award and even a Grammy. SZ’s work with the band can be heard on the first three albums, “Emergency on Planet Earth”, “The Return of the Space Cowboy” and “Travelling Without Moving”.
“Having left the band (which was highly covered by the media), Stu continued to work with high profile names. The likes of Lauryn Hill, D’Angelo, Mica Paris and Omar requested his services, amongst many others. A personal highlight for Stu shortly after leaving the band was the opportunity to play and record with the legendary Stevie Wonder!”
In the summer of 2006, Zender became the Musical director and bass player for Mark Ronson. The release of the album Version in 2007 proved to be a larger success than first expected. Thanks to the success he has performed with Ronson at numerous popular events such as "Radio 1's Big Weekend", "O2 Wireless at Hyde Park", "Global Gathering" and "Glastonbury", and festivals all over Europe including "Montreux Jazz Festival" in Switzerland and "North Sea Jazz Festival" in The Hague.