Bar code: 8427328422628
Saxophonist Eli Degibri attended the Berklee College of Music and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at New England Conservatory, from which he graduated with honors. For three years, he toured worldwide with the Grammy-award winning Herbie Hancock and his Sextet. Degibri currently performs and tours with the legendary drummer Al Foster, the Charles Mingus Big Band, as well as the Eli Degibri Quintet. His acclaimed debut CD, "In the Beginning," was released in 2004. "Emotionally Available," is his second release for Fresh Sound New Talent.
★ ★ ★ 1/2
"Israel-born saxophonist Eli Degibri’s 2004 debut CD, In The Beginning, was a robust and impressive outing. What he lacked in dues paid Degibri made up for with enthusiasm bordering on ferocious, and plenty of youthful jagged edges. His sophomore release, Emotionally Available, reveals a far more mature player. Of the nine tracks seven are Degibri originals, and the saxophonist—here on tenor and soprano- reveals consummate writing and arranging skills along with his now more evolved leadership. It helps to have a steady and inventive rhythm section on board with pianist Aaron Goldberg —who provides plenty of his own ideas— Ben Street on bass and drummer Jeff Ballard.
Degibri’s incremental growth is best charted by his lyrical handling of John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps.” While Coltrane originally reeled off the chart in double time, Degibri takes a far more measured approach. “Big Fish” also reflects Degibri’s maturation, as he starts out with a big sound but resists the temptation to blow us away and harnesses his unquestionable power to play with alluring lyricism."
—Barry Davis (Down Beat)
"Eli Degibri is part of a wave of Israeli-born jazzers made welcome in the subterranean ambiance of Smalls, among other venues. Joining Degibri on Emotionally Available, his sophomore outing, are Aaron Goldberg (piano, electric piano), Ben Street (bass) and Jeff Ballard (drums), all veterans of the saxophonists 2004 maiden release, In the Beginning. For added flavor, Ze Mauricio (pandeiro) makes a cameo appearance on Mika. Degibris lyrical gift eclipses the muscular complexity of his lines; His ideas tend to unfold like minimalist mobius strips, twisting inside-out in tangential trajectories in a burred, husky tone. Degibri nods to the titanic Coltrane in a re-harmed ballad rendition of Giant Steps and bows to tradition in a boppish Like Someone in Love. His original compositions shine with short, self-contained sections that amalgamate effortlessly into compelling wholisms. The group sounds large, especially Goldberg, who plays with verve and nerve."
—Tom Greenland (All Abaout Jazz)