Eli Degibri

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Eli Degibri
Born (1978-05-03) May 3, 1978 (age 40)
Jaffa, Israel
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Saxophone
Labels PiLi, Plus Loin, Anzic
Associated acts Al Foster, Herbie Hancock
Website www.degibri.com

Eli Degibri (Hebrew: אלי דג'יברי) (born May 3, 1978 in Jaffa, Israel) is an Israeli jazz saxophonist, composer, and arranger.

Early life[edit]

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.

In 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 program for a second summer.

In 1997, at age 18, 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 to be selected, with a full scholarship, to attend the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz[1][2] program, where he studied and performed with Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath and Clark Terry.


After graduating from the Monk Institute in 1999, Degibri was asked to join pianist Herbie Hancock's sextet, playing the music of Hancock's album Gershwin's World. Degibri toured the world with them for 2.5 years, and was featured on Hancock's 2002 The Jazz Channel Presents Herbie Hancock DVD special.

In 2002 Degibri relocated to New York City and formed his first quintet featuring Kurt Rosenwinkel, Aaron Goldberg, Ben Street, and Jeff Ballard. The band performed in New York City jazz clubs including the Blue Note, the Jazz Standard, 55 Bar and Smalls Jazz Club. That same year Degibri joined drummer Al Foster’s band, the Al Foster Quartet.

In 2003, Degibri released his first album, In The Beginning, with his quintet, on the Fresh Sound label,[3]

In 2006, he released his second album, Emotionally Available, again on Fresh Sound, featuring Goldberg, Street and Ballard. That year, he appeared on another album, One Little Song, a duo collaboration with pianist Kevin Hays.

Degibri was featured on Al Foster’s 2008 release Love, Peace and Jazz!,[4] a live recording at the legendary New York club the Village Vanguard, and on Foster's 2008 full length DVD The Paris Concert.[5] A live show of the Al Foster Quartet at the Village Vanguard was aired on NPR on May 21, 2008.[6] In 2008 Degibri formed his organ trio featuring Gary Versace and Obed Calvaire and released his 4th album, Live at Louis 649, with that trio.[7]

In 2010, he released the album Israeli Song on Anzic Records, featuring Ron Carter, Al Foster and Brad Mehldau.

In January 2011 Degibri was invited to headline at the Red Sea Jazz Festival's first winter edition, where he has performed a duo with pianist Kenny Barron.[8] In April 2011 Degibri joined drummer Al Foster and bassist George Mraz quartet together with pianist Fred Hersch at Birdland Jazz Club in New York for a performance dedicated to the music of the late Joe Henderson around what would have been Henderson's 74th birthday.[9] The quartet was also invited to perform at the 2011 North Sea Jazz Festival [10] and Gent Jazz Festival.

In October 2011 Degibri was chosen as the successor to bassist Avishai Cohen as co-Artistic Director of the Red Sea Jazz Festival.[11]

On April 30, 2012 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.[12][13]

Om August 29, 2013 Degibri released his sixth album, Twelve, on Degibri's own new label, PiLi Records, with a collaboration with Plus Loin Music,[14] featuring Gadi Lehavi, Ofri Nehemya, and Barak Mori.

Degibri has also worked with Eric Reed and the Mingus Big Band.


As leader[edit]

  • In the Beginning (2003)
  • Emotionally Available (2006)
  • Live at Louis 649 (2008)
  • Israeli Song (2010)
  • Twelve (2013)
  • Cliff Hangin' (Blujazz, 2016)

As co-leader[edit]

Selected sideman[edit]

  • The Jazz Channel Presents Herbie Hancock (2002) - Herbie Hancock
  • Love, Peace and Jazz! Live at the Village Vanguard (2008) - Al Foster
  • The Paris Concert (2008) - Al Foster


External links[edit]