Born and raised in Israel, saxophonist Eli Degibri first began playing the mandolin at age 7 in an after school music program at the Jaffa Conservatory of Music. Three years later, after attending a jazz concert, he became enamored with the saxophone and switched his studies to that instrument.
At 16, Degibri has already worked professionally with some of the major names in the Israeli music scene establishing himself as one of the leading musicians in Israel. That same year (1994) Degibri was selected to receive a full scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music’s Summer Performance Program. The following year Degibri was again awarded a full scholarship, and participated in the Berklee College of Music program for a second summer.
In 1997, at 18, Degibri received a full scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music and relocated to the United States. After a year at Berklee College of Music, he was one of only six musicians from around the world to be selected, with a full scholarship, to attend the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance program, where he studied and performed with jazz legends Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath and Clark Terry.
After graduating with honors from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance in 1999, Degibri was asked to join The Herbie Hancock Sextet and toured the world, playing the music of Herbie Hancock’s three-time Grammy Award-Winning Album – Gershwin’s World. Degibri performed with Herbie Hancock for 2.5 years, touring in the world, and was featured on Hancock’s 2002 “The Jazz Channel Presents Herbie Hancock” DVD special.