Mar 10, 2014
The number of Israeli jazz musicians are growing at a fast rate, as another generation of musicians begins to follow in the footsteps of the Cohen family (Tuval, Anat and Avishai), bassists Omer Avital and Avishai Cohen, and guitarists Gilad Hekselman, Oren Neiman, Yotam Silberstein and Roni Ben-Hur. Saxophonist Eli Degibri must be included at the top of this list of stellar musicians, having spent much of the last two decades sharing stages with the likes of Herbie Hancock (1999-2002), Kenny Barron, Fred Hersch and Al Foster (2002-2011). Degibri has led bands consisting of musicians such as Aaron Goldberg, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ben Street, Jeff Ballard, Kevin Hays, Gary Versace, and many others, resulting in five critically-acclaimed recordings under his name.
His latest release, Twelve, finds him in a physical, if not musical, transition. Long a New York native, Eli returned to his native Israel last year, to enjoy the company of family and friends and held lead the growing jazz scene. Therefore, while his last CD, Israeli Song, had sidemen like Brad Mehldau, Ron Carter and Al Foster, his new band is composed of two very young and talented musicians: pianist Gadi Lehavi (16 years old), and drummer Ofri Nehemya (18 years old), as well as his old friend, bassist Barak Mori. The result is an album of exceptional music.
As Eli points out in our talk, even the most seasoned listener will be hard pressed to determine which musicians are teenagers and which are mature players in their prime. There is a great freshness about all the playing, and a warm, open sound the welcomes the listener and calls for repeated plays.
Podcast 413 is our conversation, featuring selections from Twelve, including “New Waltz”, “The Spider”. the title track and "Liora Mi Amor" (featuring Shlomo Ydov on vocals); plus a track from Israeli Song in honor of Ron Carter, “Mr. R.C.”