This is an article I wrote last year… As there are so many new readers of The Blues Blogger in 2009, there’s a chance you may have missed this one. If you’ve already seen this, I hope you enjoy it the second time around…
I used to get a little down around this time of season. Spring and summer were definitely my favorite seasons, and when it came time to turn the clocks back for the fall and winter, a wave of melancholy would set it in for a little while… For many reasons, I don’t feel that way anymore. The cooler darker months that lay ahead don’t have that same dismal effect on me. I look forward to coming home to my family, exercising and getting comfortable by a nice fire. And just let my thoughts drift off while writing…
My online persona of The Blues Blogger has brought out a side of me that helps generate that positive attitude. I owe a lot of that to my loyal readers that have been there over the course of this site’s development. Thanks for being a part of the wonderful growth of this reflective musical blog…
One of my personal favorite Blues Blogger articles was something I wrote on legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius… At the time I was writing that piece, I was also reading about Australian bass prodigy Tal Wilkenfeld whose latest accomplishments have been nothing short of mesmerizing. As different as Jaco and Tal may be, I discovered a similar tone. I became interested in writing something about Wilkenfeld, as she is an extremely talented individual. She has a mature soul and I hear many influences flow throughout her playing. One thing for sure, she is a very cool and extremely entertaining young lady to watch.
was born in Sydney Australia… She started to play guitar at 14, and then later switched to the bass 3 years later. Wilkenfeld would discover that the feel of the bass best matched her personality and form of expression.
“I’ve always just picked up any instrument and been able to play it― I could sit down at the drums or the piano and just play for fun,” Tal says of her musical gifts. “But as soon as I started playing bass I knew it was my instrument. It was like, ‘Yes this is it. I don’t even want to play guitar anymore, this is amazing.”
Making a bold move, Wilkenfeld decided to drop out of high school at 16 and move to the United States; choosing to spend her time focusing on a music career. She first settled in Los Angeles and after completing school at The Los Angeles Music Academy, moved to New York City. It didn’t take long for Wilkenfeld to get work. She started performing as a side person and band leader and eventually gained recognition around New York’s jazz clubs.
After only several months of bass playing, she was offered an endorsement deal with Roger Sadowsky; an independent guitar and bass designer and manufacturer… At the age of 20, she recorded her debut album Transformation. It features musicians Wayne Krantz, Geoffrey Keezer, Keith Carlock and Seamus Blake. Tal not only played bass, but composed, arranged and also produced the album. Shortly after Transformation, she would go on to have a guest spot with The Allman Brothers Band.
The following year Chick Corea, who had heard about Wilkenfeld, was looking for a bass player. Tal goes on to say that…
“Chick had heard about me and was looking for a bass player and so I sent them some of my stuff. Then I got this call from his people and they said: ‘Hey, do you want to do these gigs in Australia?’ And I was like, ‘Yes, sir!”
The gig that got her an incredible amount of public awareness was her collaboration with Jeff Beck for his summer of 2007 European tour. After playing in Europe the group would team up with on Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago.
In November 2007, while playing another gig with Beck at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in London, Tal was joined on stage by Eric Clapton; a truly incredible accomplishment to cap off the year.
Tal Has Also Appeared
with musicians such as: Herbie Hancock, Steve Vai , Joss Stone, Susan Tedeschi, Hiram Bullock, Wayne Shorter and Corinne Bailey Ray. In addition she has been voted as “The Years Most Exciting New Player” in Bass Players 2008 Readers Choice Awards. Quite an impressive portfolio by any veteran’s standards let alone a 22 year old who’s been playing the bass less than five years.
It’s hard not to notice Wilkenfeld’s incredible achievement. Her story is truly inspiring! Tal’s haunting soulful sounds may even of had the great innovator Jaco nodding with approval.
If you’re looking for more information on Tal Wilkenfeld you can go to her website… If you’re totally unfamiliar, perhaps a cool place to start is Wilkenfeld’s MySpace Page…Upon entering you will be greeted with a funky introduction that will help settle you in…
If this is the first time you’ve seen the videos in this post, then you’re in for a real treat… Are you familiar with Tal’s incredible musical journey? Your comments are welcome as usual…
The Blues Blogger