Eli Degribi: Cliff Hangin’

If you don’t think that modern sax players use lyricism anymore, you’re going to be encouraged by Israeli saxist Eli Degribi. He earned his chops working with Herbie Hancock’s sextet for a number of years as well as being a sideman for Al Foster and Kurt Rosenwinkel. Here, the Sabra plays tenor and soprano with a team of Gadi Lehavi/p, Barak Mori/b, Ofri Nehemya/dr and Shlomo Ydov/g-voc for a collection of post bop beauties.

He’s got a Hank Mobley mid tone warmth and uses it well on the lyrical Israeli dance “The Trill” while his vibrato cries on the charging title track. The rhythm team creates a whirling dervish as Degribi swirls on “SheshBesh” and with Nehemya’s driving cymbals sears through with a pulsating post bop on “Suki The Cat.” His soprano teams up with Hehavi on a Beethoven sonata-like “The Unknown Neighbor” and does some gentle work with Mori on “Ocean View.” There’s a one off Spanish folk tune with Ydov on “Moment Fugaz” that breaks the mood a bit, but it fits into the mosaic of sounds in the long run. Lot’s to appreciate here; the mix of the Mediterranean grooves and warm tone is an embracing sauce to dip into.


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