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.
In 2002, after relocating to NYC, Degibri formed his first quintet featuring Kurt Rosenwinkel, Aaron Goldberg, Ben Street and Jeff Ballard and performed regularly in New- York’s best jazz clubs. That same year Degibri joined legendary drummer Al Foster’s band and was an integral part of the Al Foster Quartet until 2011.
In 2003 Degibri released his critically acclaimed debut album – “In the Beginning” – under the Fresh Sound label with his quintet. That same year Degibri was chosen as one of the first artists of the Israel Cultural Excellence Foundation. “IcExcellence” chosen artists serve as Israel’s best cultural ambassadors throughout the world, give back to the community, and expand the excellence effect.
In 2006 Degibri released his second and third albums – “Emotionally Available” – under the Fresh Sound label with his quartet featuring Aaron Goldberg, Ben Street and Jeff Ballard, and “One Little Song” – a duo collaboration with pianist Kevin Hays. Degibri also received in 2006 the honorary Israeli “Prime Minister Award for jazz composition”, recognizing his great talent as a melodic composer and a song writer.Read more
- Israeli Song by Dan McClenaghan
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"5 STARS - MASTERPIECE" -DownBeat Magazine
"Don’t miss him. He commanded attention when he toured with Herbie Hancock. He is a very modern improviser, super artful; his creations are spiky and fractured but immaculately sculptured." -Ben Ratliff, The New York Times
"One of the best saxophonists around..." -The New York City Jazz Record
"A very talented composer, arranger, and performer… the caliber of which is a rare ﬁnd in jazz today. Degibri’s music treads uncharted waters..." —Herbie Hancock
"Degibri knows how to tell a story, lots of feeling, lots of thought, he’s a wonderful melodist
Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson
First out of the Sliv
Soul Station, A...
In The Beginning
Fresh Sound Records