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Assaf Kehati Quartet with Billy Hart and Eli Degibri

Featuring: Assaf Kehati – Guitar
Billy Hart – Drums
Eli Degibri – Saxophone
Noam Weisenberg – Bass

Israeli/Bostonian jazz guitarist Assaf Kehati has been performing with legendary drummer Billy Hart and up-and-coming bassist Noam Weisenberg in the past year. Recently, Kehati’s trio expanded to a quartet after renowned saxophonist Eli Degibri (Al Foster’s Band) joined the group. The quartet plays both Kehati’s and Hart’s original compositions as well as jazz standards by composers such as Arthur Altman, Irving Berlin and Ray Noble.

Assaf Kehati arrived to Boston in 2007 after finishing his jazz studies at prestigious Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music (member of Berklee International Network), Israel. He has been exposed to music since he was born. His grandmother was a professional pianist from whom he learned his first music notes. He started to play piano and guitar at the age of ten, later followed by classical violin. After being involved with different music styles for nearly ten years, he started to take interest in jazz.

Shortly after, he was accepted to Rimon School. A few months into his jazz studies, he already became the winner of a number of local jazz awards, including the third place of “the Jazz Player” national competition in Israel. He also became a member of internationally recognized Rimon Honors Ensemble, “Hot Jazz”, which featured famous Australian jazz fusion guitarist, Frank Gambale.

While in Israel, Kehati performed with many prominent musicians including Alon Farber (Fresh Sound Label), Shai Chen, Haggai Amir and Daniel Sapir (Yehuda Poliker Band). He appeared at the Tel Aviv Jazz Festival, Channel 22 TV, Shablul Jazz Club, Machtesh Ramon Jazz Festival and at the Israel National Festival in Jerusalem.

In Boston, Kehati has performed at Jordan Hall, New England Cable News, The Beehive, WHRB Radio, Boston University, Brandeis University, Savant Project and Slades. In Canada, Kehati performed at Banff Centre Jazz Club and in Eric Harvie Theatre.

Nowadays, in addition to his quartet with Billy Hart and Eli Degibri, Kehati performs with Tammy Scheffer, Adam Bartczak’s Republic and the Israeli Jazz Group.

Kehati opens these quartet performances with one or two intimate Jazz Standards played as a trio. He connects traditional Jazz with contemporary compositions. The standards give the audience a taste of his interpretation, his deep emotion, his musical motives, ideas, and vision that reflect later in the performance of his intriguing original compositions.

Billy Hart is one of the most in-demand jazz drummers alive. He has worked with some of the most important jazz musicians in history. Early on he performed in Washington, D.C. with soul artists such as Otis Redding and Sam and Dave, and then later with Buck Hill and Shirley Horn, and was a sideman with the Montgomery Brothers, Jimmy Smith, and Wes Montgomery. Following Montgomery’s death in 1968, Hart moved to New York, where he recorded with McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, and Joe Zawinul, and played with Eddie Harris, Pharoah Sanders, and Marian McPartland.
Hart was a member of Herbie Hancock's sextet (1969-1973), and played with McCoy Tyner and Stan Getz in the 1970’s, in addition to extensive freelance playing (including recording with Miles Davis on 1972's On the Corner).

His current group is a quartet with Mark Turner, Ethan Iverson, and Ben Street. He is also featured in a trio led by pianist Jean-Michel Pilc.

Eli Degibri was one of only six musicians from around the world to be selected to attend the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance program at the New England Conservatory of Music. This enabled him to study and perform with jazz legends Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath and Clark Terry.

In 1999, Degibri joined The Herbie Hancock Sextet and toured the world, playing the music of Herbie Hancock’s three-time Grammy Award-winning album, Gershwin’s World. He performed with Herbie Hancock for 3 years, touring Japan, South Africa, Europe and the United States and was featured on Hancock’s 2002 “The Jazz Channel Presents Herbie Hancock” DVD special.

Since 2001 he has been an integral part of legendary drummer Al Foster’s Quartet and Trio, and was featured on Mr. Foster’s 2007 critically acclaimed release “Love, Peace and Jazz!” Eli was also featured on Foster’s 2008 full length DVD entitled “The Paris Concert”.

Noam Wiesenberg Very early on, his father composer, arranger and pianist exposed him to various eclectic musical styles and traditions, ranging from classical music through jazz and rock to Indian and African music. Beginning with cello when he was 8 years old, Weisenberg studied for ten years with the prominent Israeli cellist professor, Hillel Zori. In addition to winning scholarships from the American Israel Cultural Foundation (1998 – 2008) both as a cellist and as a chamber music player, he was a member of the Youth Musicians Excellency Unit under the auspices of the Jerusalem Music Center.
He soon entered the Israeli jazz scene, participating in projects with many renowned musicians, including The Daniel Zamir Group. This group’s CD “Echad” (meaning ‘one’ in Herbew), combined jazz elements with Jewish/Mediterranean elements was released in Israel and accompanied with extensive media exposure on major TV shows and Radio programs.

Weisenberg won 2nd prize in “Rimon” Jazz Performance Competition, leading to participation in the annual IASJ convention, held in Riga, Latvia. He has also recorded and performed with artist such as, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Roy Hargrove, Avishai Cohen (trumpet), Omer Avital, Daniel Freedman, Berry Sakharof, Matisyahu, Shlomi Shaban and Shem-Tov Levy.