Urban Sax

The Enchantment meeting the Spectacular !

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-placed16 saxophonists. Over the years, from projects to projects, the band increased to its present form : : 34 saxophonists, 1 bass player, 3 percussionnists, 2 dancers, 8 vocalists (this line up varies more or less according to the projects).

Since its creation in 1977, the unearthy and extraordinary Urban Sax has been invited all over the world to perform indoors and outdoors for 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.

US A few references : The Statue Of Liberty Bicentennial in New York, the Summit Meeting at the Ch‚teau of Versailles, the Venice Carnival, the World Exhibition in Vancouver, the Inauguration of the Panasonic Center in Tokyo, the Independance Anniversary of Indonesia in Jakarta, the Opening Ceremony of the Football World Cup in Korea, the Music Celebration in New York, Glasgow, the Culture European Capital, the Sculptures Park in Peking, the Euro Tunnel in Boulogne .....) and to close and open countless Festivals (the Milan Festival where they occupied the monumental railway station for three whole days, the Tchekhov Festival in Moscow, The Santiago de Compostella Classical Music Festival (creation around Bach), The Pori Intíl Jazz Festival, the DubaÔ Festival, the Intíl Baalbeck Festival, the Montreal Intíl Jazz Festival, the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Willisau Jazz Festival, the Linz Electronica Festival etc .....).

Each performance  is different ; the music is of course meticulously planned, but the theatricals depend much on what props are available and how best to use the space of a given location.  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 or 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. It's after this visit that he can work on a choreography specially adapted to the event and its location.

Urban Sax can be augmented by local participants from Dance and Music schools. This has no limit ; the band numbered up to 200 in Cavaillon (South of France) !
Rehearsals are planned in advance and costumes are provided the day of the show.

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 ..... 


Each performance is spectacular ; the band litteraly 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 despite 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 sound 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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Prologue Improbable
Possible Prologue
Fraction Sur Le Temps
Traveling To Pr Velvoski




(the most recent ones)

(some older ones)

Urbi Flat & QUAD SAX


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