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 his playing gives me joy .”
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.