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Tal Wilkenfeld

Widely hailed as "the rising star of the bass guitar", Tal Wilkenfeld first picked up guitar at the age of 14, in her native Sydney, Australia. She soon realized her passion and decided to pursue music professionally in the United States. After a year of studying guitar in Los Angeles, Tal found her true calling, and switched to the bass. It didn't take long for the 17-year-old prodigy to get noticed; after playing bass for only a few months, famed luthier Roger Sadowsky heard her play and immediately offered her an endorsement with Sadowsky Guitars. Very quickly, Tal started performing as a sideman and bandleader, playing with the likes of Russell Ferrante, Kenwood Dennard, Hiram Bullock, Jeff Tain Watts, Leni Stern, Susan Tedeschi, and the Allman Brothers Band. In May 2006, Tal recorded her first solo album, "Transformation." She was 20, and had been playing bass for only three years. As well as demonstrating her prowess on bass, Tal also composed, arranged, and produced the album. The CD, which was released in 2007, features guitar savant Wayne Krantz (one of Tal's musical mentors), Geoff Keezer, Keith Carlock and Seamus Blake. It has been widely acclaimed by critics and music fans all over the world, with Bass Player magazine noting, "On her aptly-titled, vibrant debut, Wilkenfeld displays a writing depth and musical presence to complement the buzz about her dynamic-yet-discerning bass approach. Tal has a natural gift for writing in odd meters while retaining an indelible sense of melody and groove. Make no mistake, this lass is poised to soar." On the heels of "Transformation", some big breaks came Tal's way. At just 21, she accompanied jazz giant Chick Corea on his tour of Australia. One month later, guitar legend Jeff Beck asked her to join him on a European Summer Tour. The Beck tour culminated at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Festival, where Jeff featured Tal with a blistering solo on Cause We've Ended as Lovers. Many regard this as one of the highlights of the show. That track, along with Big Block, are featured on the DVD Crossroads Guitar Festival 2007. Four months later, Jeff asked Tal to perform with him on a series of shows in London, where they were joined by special guests Eric Clapton and Joss Stone. This concert was recorded and came out on CD in November 2008 as Performing This Week...Live at Ronnie Scott's.Upon arriving in England, Herbie Hancock heard that Tal and Vinnie Colaiuta were going to be in London playing with Jeff, and asked them both to join him on a session with fellow jazz icon Wayne Shorter, which was filmed for the A&E TV series Live from Abbey Road.Singer Corinne Bailey Rae was also featured on the session. Tal wrapped up 2007 via a pair of standing-room-only Greenwich Village gigs with Wayne Krantz. She also accompanied Wayne on gigs in L.A., and then embarked on a tour of Australia in the fall of 08, with Wayne and Keith Carlock--a reunion of the core band who appeared on Transformation. At the conclusion of the tour, Wayne and Keith, along with John Beasley, backed Tal during her headlining set for Bass Player Live 2008, at the Key Club on Sunset Boulevard. Elsewhere, in July 2008, Tal accompanied Jeff Beck at the Grammy's Tribute to George Martin concert in L.A. Most recently, she was invited by Warren Haynes to participate in his 20th Annual Christmas Jam, in Asheville, North Carolina. There, she performed with the Allman Brothers Band, Gov't Mule, Ivan Neville, and Robben Ford. As a final "star on the tree", Tal was voted The Year's Most Exciting New Player  in Bass Player's 2008 Readers Choice Awards. Perhaps Tal's remarkable musical gift is best summed up by Jeff Beck, who enthused," What can I say about Tal Wilkenfeld? How does one describe an astonishing talent? The answer is, you don't. You listen, and watch, as 45,000 people did in Chicago at the Crossroads Festival 2007."I have witnessed special moments in my time, but to see all those died-in-the-wool blues fanatics and guitar freaks go berzzzzerk half way through her solo left me emotional, and that is an understatement. The word proud is barely adequate."

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