Urban Sax to zespół założony w 1973 roku przez francuskiego kompozytora Gilberta Artmana znanego m.in. z Lard Free. Grupa składa się z dużej ilości saksofonów, instrumentów perkusyjnych oraz wokalistów. Artyści wykonują kompozycje Artmana, które są zazwyczaj powtarzalne i minimalistyczne, w efekcie czego powstaje muzyka niesamowita, wyrazista i wręcz rytualna. Z upływem czasu liczba muzyków w zespole wzrosła od 12 do ponad 50 w ostatnich latach. W występach odbywających się wielokrotnie w nietypowej scenerii, mających charakter swoistego spektaklu, biorą udział często także tancerze, wówczas skład może obejmować aż 200 wykonawców.
Urban Sax is the fruit of a long acoustic and architectural research that began in 1973 when Gilbert Artman, the band’s Creator, Composer and Choreographer made the town of Menton, in the south of France, reverberate with strategically-placed 16 saxophonists. Over the years, from projects to projects, the band increased to its present form : 30 saxophonists, 10 chorus singers, 3 percussionists, 1 bass player and 2 dancers. Urban Sax can be augmented by local participants from Dance and Music Schools. This has no limit ; the band has sometimes numbered 200 ! Whenever it’s possible, Gilbert Artman likes the band to be joined by some musicians issued from different musical horizons. To give you a few examples, the band was joined in Jakarta by Balinese dancers and Gamelan musicians, in Vancouver by some Native American drummers and Scottish pipers, in Turkey by some sufis, in Tokyo by some traditional Japanese drummers... Urban Sax has been invited all over the world to perform in great events such as the inauguration of plazas, theatres, monuments..., opened and closed countless festivals, played in prestigious places (castles, caves, churches...), “redefined” truly urban environments like subways, factories, electric power stations..., and has been asked to participate in numerous Conventions.
Each site is carefully checked out beforehand so that its full spatial and acoustic potential can be realized. That’s what Gilbert Artman calls “Acoustical Town Planning”: to take over a space of environment and fill it with sound and movement. This concept he created is unique. It’s during Gilbert Artman’s visit that are decided the human and technical needs, the necessary authorizations and the running of the show. Each performance of Urban Sax is different ; Gilbert Artman works each time on a choreography specially adapted to the event and its location.
Each performance is spectacular because the band literally invades the location. Some saxophonists are climbing down buildings, others are on the rooftops, behind the windows, some are arriving in helicopters... Everyone wears earphones and thanks to the transmitter, Gilbert Artman can be very precise his being, say, 200 meters from the musicians, who in turn might be 100 meters from each other. The spectator is always surrounded by images and sounds and very often, there are some dancers and musicians suspended above him. Urban Sax recreates the urban landscape and forever changes the relation between the people and their town.
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