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Tal Wilkenfeld - bass player extraordinaire!

Updated on March 2, 2015

Tal knows exactly who she is; if you like music, so should you

Tal is a young Australian woman, who discovered the bass after three years of playing guitar. She never looked back and three years later, she not only went pro, but began taking the music world by storm.

If you haven't seen video of her playing with Jeff Beck at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival, put it at the top of your "to do" list.

When Tal was fourteen years old she began playing the guitar and in 2002, two years later, she dropped out of high school, saying "it just wasn't going to work for me". She emigrated to the U.S.A. and studied guitar further, but within a year switched to the bass.

In 2004 she graduated from the Los Angeles Music Academy College of Music and a few months later accepted an endorsement from Sadowsky Guitars. She formed a band and put time into composing original songs. She then moved to New York City and started making a name for herself in the city's jazz clubs.

Tal Wilkenfeld
Tal Wilkenfeld

Tal performed as a guest with The Allman Brothers Band in 2006 and she recorded her entire debut album, Transformation, that same year in only two days! She played bass, composed, arranged and produced on seven intricate songs with Geoffrey Keezer, Wayne Krantz, Keith Carlock and Seamus Blake.

When Tal learned that Chick Corea was looking for a bass player for his upcoming tour, she sent him some demos from her Transformation sessions. She was thrilled when he responded by asking her accompany him on his 2007 tour of Australiain early 2007.

A few months later she joined Jeff Beck for his summer European tour and a sell-out performance at Eric Clapton's 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago. In November of 2007 she joined Jeff Beck in London for a week-long gig at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club. A CD and a DVD from the shows, Live at Ronnie Scott's, were later released. On this same trip, Tal joined Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Vinnie Coaiuta (who had been playing drums with Beck) and singer Corinne Bailey Rae for a session for the A&E series, Live from Abbey Road. She then closed out the year with two standing-room-only Greenwich Village dates with Krantz.

Tal accompanied Krantz on gigs in Los Angels in 2008 before departing for a tour of Australia with Krantz and Carlock that autumn. At the conclusion of the tour in Los Angeles, Krantz, Carlock and John Beasley backed her up during her headlining set for Bass Player LIVE! In July she accompanied Jeff Beck at a tribute concert in Los Angeles for producer George Martin.

Tal toured Australia and Japan with Jeff Beck in early 2009. In an interview, Jeff said, "It's interesting to have some amazing players in my band like Tal, who is about, you know half, a quarter of the age of either Vinnie or me. She's a genius. She will pick up mistakes that we, even Vinnie and I, miss. So she's a great anchor as well."

They went on to toured the United States later, beginning with Beck's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A DVD including this performance, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Legends, was released in 2010. During a break between touring Japan and America, Tal played with The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, then left on Beck's summer tour through Europe, Canada and the UK.

Tal joined Beck in October of 2010 at Madison Square Garden for the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame's 25th Anniversary two-night concert. The 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Concerts DVD was released later that year. Tal was also featured on four tunes on Jeff's album Emotion & Commotion, prompting this quote from Bass Player magazine: "Wilkenfeld powers four tracks with present, prescient parts; this includes "Serene," with her ear-grabbing fills and brief but bright solo."

Great Tal Wilkenfeld stuff on Amazon

Tal returned to composing and recording as a solo artist after her three years with Jeff Beck. She was asked to contribute to Herbie Hancock's The Imagine Project, to Macy Gray's The Sellout, and to Lee Ritenour's Six String Theory, while working in L.A. She appeared with Steve Lukather's band at the Ford Amphitheater at The Baked Potato's 40th anniversary show on May 23, 2010 and in June and July toured with Herbie Hancock Herbie Hancock on dates across the U.S., Canada and Europe including a special Carnegie Hall show to celebrate Herbie's 70th birthday.

She has also played with Rod Stewart, Prince, Susan Tedeschi, John Mayer, Trevor Rabin, Hiram Bullock, joined Ryan Adams as a collaborator on his latest studio album and played on several tracks of the album Toto XIV.

So, what do you think about the incredible Tal?

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      TomBoyd 7 years ago

      Wow I did not know about her until I read this lens and watched some of the videos.

      Thanks for making this great squidoo lens, it really makes me want to learn to play bass even more!