An internationally recognized saxophonist-composer-bandleader, Eli Degibri possesses many gifts as a musician. He boasts a seemingly bottomless fount of artistry as a composer and a bandleader, and is a recipient of the honorary Israeli “ Prime Minister Award for Jazz Composition ”, recognizing his great talent as a melodic composer, and the “Landau Award for Jazz Performance”, recognizing his achievement as a remarkable band leader.
Known for his charismatic performances, Degibri has recorded and performed extensively since the mid-1990s. He has been called, “ an exceptionally melodic improviser with a big, bold tenor tone ” (Bill Milkowski, JazzTimes), and “a bewitching fellow who shows impressive chops, as both a player and a composer.” (Karl Stark, The Philadelphia Inquirer).
Jazz icon Herbie Hancock said that Degibri (who was a member of Hancock’s Sextet from 1999 to 2002) is “ a very talented composer, arranger, and performer “, one who’s music, “treads uncharted waters “, and that the saxophonist-composer, “ has the potential to be a formidable force in the evolution of jazz .”
The legendary drummer Al Foster (of whose band Degibri was a member from 2002 to 2011) said: “Degibri knows how to tell a story, lots of feeling, lots of thought, he’s a wonderful melodist. I don’t hear these qualities in other young musicians. In fact, Eli is the only young saxophonist that I know that his playing gives me joy .”
In April 2012, Eli Degibri was invited to be a part of UNESCO’s first International Jazz Day at the UN General Assembly in New York, alongside many of the finest jazz musicians in the world. The Quartet’s album Twelve was released in September 2013, and the “ Masterpiece ” album CLIFF HANGIN’ was released in autumn 2015 and received a 5-star review from the prestigious DownBeat magazine.
In April 2016 Eli was invited to perform at the White House as a guest of President Barak Obama and Michele Obama as part of a special all-star concert celebrating international jazz day. In April 2018 Eli and the quartet were invited to perform in St. Petersburg, Russia as part of the seventh annual International Jazz Day celebration, hosted by Herbie Hancock.
Degibri is now engaged in the long-standing tradition of mentorship in the jazz world: his current quartet consists of three young and promising Israeli musicians, the award-winning pianist Tom Oren , bassist Tamir Shmerling , and drummer Eviatar Slivnik . In October, the quartet released SOUL STATION, a tribute to the late, great Hank Mobley. Derek Ansell who is an authority and the only biographer to write a book about Hank Mobley also wrote the liner notes for the recordin which he stated: “ Eli’s version belongs alongside Hank’s in the Jazz Hall Of Fame. ”