Women Music March 2023 – Day 30 Tal Wilkenfeld — Written by Featured Guest Writer, Christian Pflaumer

https://i2.wp.com/www.notreble.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Tal-Wilkenfeld.jpg?resize=1200%2C801&ssl=1Tal Wilkenfeld, photo by Eric Townsend

Playing in Jeff Beck’s and Herbie Hancock’s bands was so fun, because it was never about playing for the sake of playing; it was about having diverse musical conversations with notes. When you approach music from that place, everyone has something to say, and something to learn from a conversation. There’s no way you can walk away from situations like that without picking up on some of the nuances and the subtleties they bring to the music. I’m one lucky human!  –(MusicRadar, January 20, 2020)

Christian Pflaumer has graciously agreed to write today’s entry for Women Music March. Christian’s Blog, Christian’s Music Musings, is a great music-focused blog that introduces music from across the globe and across times. My favorite weekly feature of Christian’s Blog is The Sunday Six, which has songs that cover genres, decades, and locations and also handily includes a Spotify playlist at the end. If you haven’t checked out Christian’s blog yet, I encourage you do to do so!

Tal Wilkenfeld is a renowned Australian born singer-songwriter, bassist and guitarist. She gained initial prominence in 2006 when jamming with The Allman Brothers Band at The Beacon Theatre in New York City, and broadly established herself as a top-notch bassist in 2007 when touring with Chick Corea and Jeff Beck.

Wilkenfeld has also performed with the likes of Prince, Eric Clapton, Herbie Hancock and Mick Jagger. Additionally, she has recorded with Ringo Starr, Toto, Todd Rundgren, Jackson Browne, Joe Walsh and David Gilmour, among many others.

Early Life:
Wilkenfeld (birth name: Talia Wilkenfeld) was born on December 2, 1986 in Bondi, New South Wales, Australia. She began playing guitar and writing songs as a 14-year-old. “I discovered guitar on my own,” she told District Fray Magazine in March 2016. “Neither of my parents are musicians, but my mum has a very musical ear and is also a great visual artist. My dad also has amazing taste in music.”

Two years later, in 2002, Wilkenfeld dropped out of high school, emigrated to the U.S. and started studying electric guitar at Los Angeles Music Academy College of Music. Within a year, she switched to bass.

Musical Beginnings:
After graduation from LAMA College of Music in 2004, Wilkenfeld moved to New York where she began to establish herself in local jazz clubs. During a performance at one of these clubs, she met members of The Allman Brothers who encouraged her to join them during a gig at The Beacon Theatre. Wilkenfeld’s first appearance on a big stage resulted in a 40-minute jam, yielding a recording she subsequently sent to Jeff Beck when auditioning for his backing band.

Two weeks after her jam with the Allmans, Wilkenfeld recorded her self-produced solo debut Transformation in just two days. In addition to her (bass), the jazz fusion album featured Wayne Krantz (guitar), Geoffrey Keezer (keyboard, piano), Seamus Blake (saxophone) and Keith Carlock (drums), as well as Samuel Torres (percussion) and Oteil Burbridge (bass melody) on one track each.

Transformation proved to be transformative, leading Wilkenfeld to join Chick Chorea for his 2007 Australian tour, followed by her first of repeated tours with Jeff Beck over the next 10 years or so.

As Solo Artist:
• Transformation (2007)
• Love Remains (2019)

With Jeff Beck
• Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival, Wilkenfeld with Jeff Beck on “Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers” and “Big Block” (2007)
Live at Ronnie Scott’s, Jeff Beck (2008)
Emotion & Commotion, Jeff Beck (2010)
The 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concerts, featuring Wilkenfeld with Jeff Beck, Sting, Buddy Guy, and Billy Gibbons (2010)
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum Live Legends DVD, featuring Wilkenfeld with Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page (2010)
Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival (2013)
Still on the Run (Jeff Beck DVD) Jeff Beck DVD (2018)

With Herbie Hancock
• The Imagine Project, Herbie Hancock CD (2010)
Experience Montreux, Herbie Hancock Blu-ray 3D (2013)

With Macy Gray
• The Sellout, Macy Gray CD, Wilkenfeld performs on the track “That Man” (2010)

With Lee Ritenour
• 6 String Theory, Lee Ritenour (2010)
Rhythm Sessions, Lee Ritenour (2012)

With Jackson Browne
• Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International, on “Love Minus Zero/No Limit”, with Jackson Browne, Benmont Tench, Jonathan Wilson, and Jim Keltner (2012)
Standing in the Breach (2014)

With Trevor Rabin
• Jacaranda, Trevor Rabin (2012)

With Wayne Krantz
• Howie 61, Wayne Krantz (2012)

With Steve Lukather
• Transition, Steve Lukather (2013)

With Ryan Adams
• Ryan Adams, Ryan Adams (2014)

With Toto
• Toto XIV, Toto (2015)

With Todd Rundgren
• Global, Todd Rundgren (2015)

With Keith Urban
• Ripcord, Keith Urban CD, on the track “Break on Me” (2016)

With Prince
• Welcome 2 America, Prince CD – recorded in 2010 (2021)

Some things to share:
In March 2016, Wilkenfeld released Corner Painter, a single that marked the beginning of her transition from instrumental jazz fusion to alternative rock. The song features American singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer Blake Mills and keyboarder Benmont Tench, a co-founder of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. This was followed by a second single, Under The Sun, in December 2018. Three months later, in March 2019, Wilkenfeld’s second solo album Love Remains came out, her first with vocals. It hit no. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart one week after its release.

With Love Remains, Wilkenfeld has come full circle. “I began singing and writing songs with words when I first picked up a guitar at 14,” she states on her website. “When I arrived in the States a couple of years later, I quickly became fixated on guitar and then the bass and I stepped away from lyric writing. After years of being on the road and playing constantly, I really started to miss songwriting. That’s when I began writing songs with lyrics again and creating this album.”

Official website: here

Christian has also provided a wonderful selection of YouTube Videos to watch that showcase Tal’s talents.  Just click on the links to take you to them.

Truth Be Told (from Transformation)

Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers (live with Jeff Beck at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival)

Big Block (live with Jeff Beck at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival;

Chameleon (live with Herbie Hancock at Montreux Jazz Festival 2010)

Corner Painter (live, Oct 2017, during opening gig for The Who at Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.)

Killing Me (from Love Remains; official video)

Sources: Wikipedia; MusicRadar; District Fray Magazine; Tal Wilkenfeld website

Thanks again, Christian, for your graciousness in being today’s Featured Guest Writer!


9 Comments Add yours

  1. trentpmcd says:

    An amazingly talented musician. I find it interesting that she is best known for playing with older legends and playing as equals with them, not someone in the background as the legend does their thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. randydafoe says:

    That’s quite the impressive resume. I had not heard of her but apparently I have listened to her!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. msjadeli says:

    I echo what Trent says, she’s on an equal playing level on stage with the greats. Thanks again, Christian, for your very informative write-up on Ms. Wilkenfeld!


  4. Brilliant post, Lisa! 🙂

    On a more serious note, thanks again for the invite to make a humble contribution to your great “Women Music March” series, which has introduced me to many new music artists.

    Writing about Tal Wilkenfeld also made me learn new things about her, which was fun. For example, I had no idea about her transformation from instrumental jazz fusion to vocals and alternative rock. She’s a super talented young woman and a helluva bassist!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      My pleasure to have you write a guest post on this young lady. If you would like to write one next year just let me know who you plan on writing on. Tomorrow I will post all of the artists that have been covered since I started this, so it can be anyone you don’t see in that list if you want to do it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Lisa, sounds great. Actually, I have somebody in mind, so will check your site tomorrow to see whether you already covered her!😀

        Liked by 1 person

  5. memadtwo says:

    I like that she knew what she wanted and went for it. Instrumentalists rarely get the credit they deserve. But I think she’ll be around for a long time. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Badfinger (Max) says:

    Great write up Christian! Wow…she has played with everyone. You can tell she listens to the artists she admires and plays with…

    Liked by 1 person

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