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, Mr. 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) Mr. Degibri was selected to receive a full scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music's Summer Performance Program. The following year Mr. Degibri was again awarded a full scholarship, and participated in the Berklee program for a second summer.
In 1997, at age 18, Mr. Degibri received a full scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music 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, 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 Monk Institute in 1999, Mr. 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 Gershwin's World. Mr. Degibri performed with Herbie Hancock for 2.5 years, touring in the world, and was featured on Mr. Hancock's 2002 "The Jazz Channel Presents Herbie Hancock" DVD special.
In 2002, after relocating to NYC, Mr. 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 Mr. Degibri joined legendary drummer Al Foster’s band and ever since he is an integral part of the Al Foster Quartet.
In 2003 Mr. Degibri released his critically acclaimed debut CD - “In The Beginning” - under the Fresh Sound label with his quintet.
That same year Mr. 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 Mr. Degibri released his second album – “Emotionally Available” - under the Fresh Sound label with his quartet featuring Aaron Goldberg, Ben Street and Jeff Ballard. That same year Mr. Degibri released “One Little Song” – a duo collaboration with the great pianist Kevin Hays. Mr. 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.
In 2007 Mr. Degibri was featured on Mr.Foster’s critically acclaimed release “Love, Peace and Jazz!”, a live recording at the legendary New-York club – Village Vanguard.
In 2008 Mr. Degibri was featured on Mr. Foster’s 2008 full length DVD entitled “The Paris Concert”. That same year Mr. Degibri formed his exciting new organ trio featuring Gary Versace and Obed Calvaire and released his 4th album – “Live at Louis 649” - under the prestigious NYC label – Anzic Records.
In 2009 Mr. Degibri joined two of New-York’s most brilliant jazz artists, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Ari Hoenig. Together they formed the Degibri-Penman-Hoenig Trio playing their original compositions.
In 2010 Mr. Degibri released his 5th CD (Anzic Records) – “Israeli Song”. In this album, Mr. Degibri brought together two of his mentors and jazz legends that he was blessed to be around with in the past decade, bass player Ron Carter and drummer Al Foster, and today’s most innovative pianist – the great Brad Mehldau.
With a career of over sixteen years, saxophonist, composer and band leader Eli Degibri has already established himself as one of today’s leading musicians in the jazz world, gaining a large fan base worldwide. Mr. Degibri is strongly committed to leading his own band and playing his original compositions, playing music which appeals not only to the traditional jazz audience, but reaches a wide range of listeners as well.
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