Since his explosive debut with piano icon Herbie Hancock’s band, the scintillating Israeli saxophonist Eli Degibri has become one of the most in-demand instrumentalists in jazz, working alongside veteran greats including Clark Terry, Jimmy Heath, Eric Reed and the Mingus Big Band.
He’s recorded five superb CDs as a leader or co-leader, each showcasing his own eclectic compositions and re-imagined standards. His latest, Israeli Song, features a legendary rhythm section including pianist Brad Mehldau, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Al Foster. Degibri’s 2006 release, One Little Song, is a duet session with the masterful pianist Kevin Hays, who joins him again for this SFJAZZ date.
Kevin Hays has had a phenomenal career as a world-class pianist and composer, with an impressive résumé including recordings and performances with jazz mainstays John Scofield, Chris Potter, Joshua Redman, Eddie Henderson, Nicholas Payton, Jack DeJohnette and a legion of others. A stylistic chameleon equally comfortable in acoustic and electric jazz settings, he’s recorded a dozen albums as a leader for Blue Note, SteepleChase and Jazz Eyes, and for the last decade has worked extensively with his trio featuring bassist Doug Weiss and drummer Bill Stewart.
The keyboardist’s latest projects are Modern Music, a duet recording for Nonesuch with high school friend Brad Mehldau that features music and arrangements by Patrick Zimmerli, and Variations, a solo session of his own compositions for the German label Pirouet.