John Atkinson and I spent some time today admiring Tal Wilkenfeld's bass playing. Sheesh. The girl is only 21 years old. Beyond her sheer skill, which is stunning, Wilkenfeld seems to just know how to play. I first caught her on PBS one night while flipping through channels. It was Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival, and she was performing with Jeff Beck. I was surprised to see such a young musician on stage with one of rock's living legends, but I soon discovered that Wilkenfeld was right where she belonged. Seems she always knew. Story goes that Wilkenfeld dropped out of her Sydney, Australia high school when she was only 16. Packed her bags and moved to Los Angeles to become a musician. She's only been playing bass for five years.
After a long tour with Jeff Beck and a New York City gig earlier this month, it seems Tal's taking a break for the holidaysthere are no shows currently listed on her website. Her first album, Transformation, was released in May.
JA says he's most impressed by her musical maturity, her ability to understand and fulfill her specific role within a piece of music, playing just the right notes at just the right times.
Check her out here, playing "Cause We've Ended As Lovers" and "Big Block," with Jeff Beck and Vinnie Colaiuta: