Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor
Born and raised in Israel, saxophonist Eli Degibri first began playing the mandolin at age 7. Three years later, he switched to the Saxophone. At 16, Mr. Degibri had already worked professionally with some of the major names in the Israeli music scene.
In 1997 Mr. Degibri received a full scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston and relocated to the United States. After a year at Berklee, he was one of only six musicians from around the world to be selected to attend the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance program at the New England Conservatory of Music. This enabled him to study and perform with jazz legends Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath and Clark Terry
In 1999, Mr. Degibri joined The Herbie Hancock Sextet and toured the world, playing the music of Herbie Hancock’s three-time Grammy Award-winning album Gershwin’s World. Mr. Degibri performed with Herbie Hancock for 3 years, touring Japan, South Africa, Europe and the United States and was featured on Mr. Hancock’s 2002 The Jazz Channel Presents Herbie Hancock” DVD special.
In 2003, Mr. Degibri was a chosen artist of the Israel Cultural Excellence Foundation (IcExcellence) In 2006 Mr. Degibri received the honorary “Prime minister award for jazz composition” (Israel)
Since arriving to the United States Mr. Degibri has had the honor to work and share the bandstand with New York’s best such as the Mingus Big Band, Ron Carter, Eric Reed, Jason Lindner, Omer Avital, Avishai Cohen, Brad Mehldau, Steve Grossman, Eddie Henderson, Kevin Hays, Paolo Braga, Ari Hoenig, Sam Yahel, Bill Stewart, Greg Hutchinson, Doug Weiss, Reuben Rogers, and Mark Turner.
Since 2001 Mr. Degibri has been an integral part of legendary drummer Al Foster’s Quartet and Trio, and was featured on Mr. Foster’s 2007 critically acclaimed release “Love, Peace and Jazz!”. Eli was also featured on Foster’s 2008 full length DVD entitled “The Paris Concert”.
In addition Mr. Degibri is strongly committed to leading his own band and playing his original compositions. On his recordings and New York performances he is joined by today’s leading musicians including Kurt Rosenwinkel, Aaron Goldberg, Ben Street and Jeff Ballard. Mr. Degibri’s most recent project is a saxophone-organ-drums trio featuring organist Gary Versace and drummer Obed Calvaire. Mr. Degibri has recorded three albums as a leader, “In The Beginning”, Emotionally Available” and “Live At Louis 649″. As a co-leader Mr. Degibri recorded “One Little Song”, a duo with the great pianist Kevin Hays.