Tal Wilkenfeld

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Tal Wilkenfeld
Wilkenfeld performing in November 2008
Wilkenfeld performing in November 2008
Background information
Born (1986-12-02) 2 December 1986 (age 36)
Bondi, New South Wales, Australia
GenresRock, blues rock, folk, indie rock, funk, jazz, jazz fusion, folk rock
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, bandleader
Instrument(s)Bass guitar, guitar, vocals
Years active2002–present

Tal Wilkenfeld (born 2 December 1986) is an Australian singer, songwriter, bassist, and guitarist. She has performed with artists including Jeff Beck, Prince, Incubus, Eric Clapton, Herbie Hancock, and Mick Jagger. In 2008, Wilkenfeld was voted "The Year's Most Exciting New Player" by Bass Player magazine readers' choice poll. In 2013, Wilkenfeld was awarded Bass Player Magazine's "Young Gun Award" by Don Was, where she performed "Chelsea Hotel" by Leonard Cohen.

Wilkenfeld is a bandleader of her own eponymous bands, in which she sings, plays bass, and plays guitar. In her earlier work, she was backed by musicians such as Wayne Krantz and Vinnie Colaiuta. She opened for The Who on the North American part of The Who Hits 50! tour in 2016.[1] In 2016, Wilkenfeld released a single entitled "Corner Painter" which features Blake Mills and Benmont Tench.[2] Also in 2016, Rolling Stone stated that Wilkenfeld was "working on new music that sees her evolving from an instrumental prodigy into a formidable singer-songwriter."[3] On 15 March 2019, Wilkenfeld released her vocal debut album Love Remains,[4] which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseeker charts on the first week of its release.[5] Love Remains has been highly praised by the press and featured in Rolling Stone, Relix, Paste, Billboard, and Forbes. Rolling Stone described Wilkenfeld's vocal debut as "ten dense, riff-heavy tracks with brazen, introspective lyrics—prove her songwriting abilities."[6] Wilkenfeld has also been a guest on popular podcasts, including WTF with Marc Maron, and Bill Burr's Monday Morning Podcast .

Wilkenfeld has recorded on projects with Ringo Starr, Brian Wilson, Toto, Todd Rundgren, Macy Gray, Dr. John, Trevor Rabin, Jackson Browne, Joe Walsh, Rod Stewart, John Mayer, Sting, Ben Harper, David Gilmour, Pharrell, Buddy Guy, Billy Gibbons, Lee Ritenour, Hiram Bullock, Susan Tedeschi, and Hans Zimmer.

Early life[edit]

Born in Bondi, New South Wales,[7] Wilkenfeld began playing guitar in 2000 when she was 14 years old. Two years later, she dropped out of high school and emigrated to the United States,[8] where she studied electric guitar. Within a year, Wilkenfeld switched to electric bass.[9] In 2004, Wilkenfeld graduated from Los Angeles College of Music. She accepted an endorsement from Sadowsky Guitars, and devoted herself to forming a band and composing songs. At the age of 18, Wilkenfeld moved to New York City, and began performing in New York's jazz clubs.[7]

Early career[edit]

While playing at a club in New York in 2006, Wilkenfeld met some members of The Allman Brothers Band. She credits Oteil Burbridge and Derek Trucks with encouraging her to join them at the Beacon Theatre,[10] her first time on a large stage. The jam lasted about 40 minutes and Wilkenfeld sent a recording of the performance to Jeff Beck when she auditioned for his band.

In 2006, months after performing as a guest with The Allman Brothers Band, Wilkenfeld recorded her debut album, Transformation, in just two days.[11] Wilkenfeld composed, produced, arranged and played bass on seven songs with Wayne Krantz, Geoffrey Keezer, saxophonist Seamus Blake and Keith Carlock.

Professional bass playing career[edit]

Wilkenfeld with Jeff Beck during his Jazz à Juan tour, 15 July 2009

Upon learning that Chick Corea was seeking a bassist for an upcoming tour, Wilkenfeld sent him demos of Transformation, and was selected for his 2007 Australian tour,[8] along with Frank Gambale and Antonio Sanchez. A few months later, she joined Jeff Beck, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Jason Rebello for Beck's summer European tour. The group completed their tour at Eric Clapton's 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago, Illinois, performing to a sell-out crowd of approximately 40,000 people. By November 2007, Wilkenfeld had rejoined Beck and the other band members for a week-long residency at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London. Beck selected that venue to record a new DVD and CD, with guests that included Clapton, Joss Stone, and Imogen Heap. It was recorded, filmed, and released as Live at Ronnie Scott's. On the same trip, Wilkenfeld joined Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, singer Corinne Bailey Rae, and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta on a session filmed for the A&E series, Live from Abbey Road. Wilkenfeld completed 2007 with two standing-room-only Greenwich Village shows with Krantz.

The Tal Wilkenfeld Trio November 2008
L to R: Krantz, Carlock, Wilkenfeld
Beck with Wilkenfeld during her tour with Beck at the 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago, Illinois

In 2008, Wilkenfeld accompanied Krantz at shows in Los Angeles, before an Australian tour with Krantz and Carlock, a reunion of the band that appeared on Transformation. At the conclusion of the tour, Krantz, Carlock and John Beasley backed Wilkenfeld during her headlining set for Bass Player LIVE! 2008 in Los Angeles. In July, she accompanied Jeff Beck in a tribute to George Martin in Los Angeles. She appeared at Warren Haynes's 20th Annual Christmas Jam, reuniting and performing with The Allman Brothers Band and guesting with Gov't Mule, Ivan Neville, and Robben Ford.

In 2008, Wilkenfeld received a phone call from Prince. She was surprised that his first words to her were, "Do you like the drum rolls of Jack DeJohnette?" [12]

Prince brought Wilkenfeld to parties at his Los Angeles home. Sometimes he and his band played and she was their lone audience member.[12]

Months later, Prince called Wilkenfeld from Minneapolis, and said that he wanted to put together a trio with her, asking Wilkenfeld to find them a drummer. They settled on Chris Coleman, who had been playing with Chaka Khan and Rachelle Farrell, and Prince flew the two musicians to Paisley Park for the first time in late 2009.[12] In March 2010, Wilkenfeld travelled to Paisley Park, and began to improvise and play chords on instruction from Prince. "I just made everything up; he gave me no direction about what to play beyond a chord here or there. It was just do your thing", Wilkenfeld explained. "I never heard the lyrics, never knew what the songs were about, never heard the melody. It was like we had to be psychic when we were playing", she added. The result of this work culminated in Welcome 2 America - Prince's 2021 album and first posthumous release with previously unreleased music, which features Wilkenfeld on bass on 10 of the 12 tracks, recorded in 2010.[citation needed]

In 2009, Wilkenfeld toured Australia and Japan with Jeff Beck. Weeks later, the group toured the United States, beginning with Beck's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where they played Beck's Bolero and were joined by Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page on Immigrant Song.

A DVD of this performance, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Legends,tv was released in 2010.

Between touring Japan and America, Wilkenfeld performed with The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon as their first musical guest, after which she joined Jeff Beck's summer tour through Europe, Canada and the UK. Pink Floyd's David Gilmour sat in with the group during a performance at the Royal Albert Hall.

In October 2009, Wilkenfeld reunited with Beck at Madison Square Garden for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 25th Anniversary two-night concert. The set included Buddy Guy on "Let Me Love You Baby", Sting singing "People Get Ready", and Billy Gibbons on "Foxey Lady". The 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concerts DVD, which also included "Big Block", "A Day in the Life", and "Freeway Jam", was released in 2010.[13]

Wilkenfeld was featured on four tracks on Jeff Beck's album Emotion & Commotion.

In 2010, Wilkenfeld contributed to Hancock's The Imagine Project on "A Change is Gonna Come" and "Don't Give Up" She played on Macy Gray's The Sellout on "That Man" and on Lee Ritenour's Six String Theory on "68", "In your Dreams", "Give Me One Reason" and Guthrie Govan's song "Fives".

In 2010, Wilkenfeld appeared in The Baked Potato's 40th anniversary show at the Ford Amphitheater with Steve Lukather's band, and accompanied Hancock across the US, Canada, and Europe to promote a new release on which she had played. The tour included a show at Carnegie Hall to celebrate Hancock's 70th birthday.

In September 2011, Wilkenfeld accompanied Steven Tyler and Jeff Beck at the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

On 19 May 2012, Wilkenfeld accompanied Beck and Mick Jagger on Saturday Night Live.[14]

In 2013, Wilkenfeld joined alt-country singer-songwriter Ryan Adams as a collaborator on his studio album, Ryan Adams (2014). She contributed to two tracks on the Toto album Toto XIV,[15] and co-wrote a song called "Running Whiskey" with ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons. "Running Whiskey" was released in 2016 by Supersonic Blues Machine.[16]

In 2018, Wilkenfeld performed with Bob Weir and his band Wolf Bros at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara,[17] and the Beacon Theatre in Manhattan.[18]

Wilkenfeld was featured on the cover of Bass Player magazine's March 2019 issue. On 22 July 2019, Wilkenfeld appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, performing "Killing Me" and "Corner Painter".

In January and February 2023, Wilkenfeld played 5 shows with Incubus while their bassist Ben Kenney recovered from brain surgery [19]

Solo career[edit]

On 3 March 2016, Wilkenfeld released a single, "Corner Painter", which featured Blake Mills and Benmont Tench.[2] On 15 March 2017, Judd Apatow featured "Corner Painter" on season two of his Netflix series Love.[20]

Wilkenfeld opened for The Who on the North American part of The Who Hits 50! tour, starting in Detroit on 27 February 2016. Wilkenfeld headlined on her own between The Who dates, starting in Toronto, Ontario on 29 February 2016.[1]

On 14 December 2018, Wilkenfeld released a song entitled "Under The Sun". In 2019, Billboard magazine premiered her new single "Killing Me". Wilkenfeld released her debut vocal album Love Remains on 15 March 2019. The album includes Blake Mills on guitar, Benmont Tench on keyboard, and Jackson Browne as executive producer.[4] Love Remains reached No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseeker charts on the first week of its release.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Wilkenfeld practices meditation. "I'm very focused on my spiritual, emotional, and mental growth" she told Rolling Stone. "I meditate every day, and I just want to continue to evolve as a person, and I hope that my music will reflect that."[21] She elaborated with Popdust, stating that "Meditating helps creativity flow. The more you meditate, the more you realize that everything is a meditation. The silence is important."[22] When Bass Player magazine asked about her time working with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, Wilkenfeld said: "It's comforting to know that two of the greatest musicians alive are just as focused on their spiritual paths as their musical paths, and for them, they're one and the same. I remember standing at the side of the stage a few minutes before I was going to play with Wayne, and he came up to me and said, "Play eternity!" Leonard Cohen, who I was lucky enough to spend time with, was also deeply focused on his spiritual journey. Self-inquiry is a very important part of my life, and it's reassuring to meet other like-minded people."[23]

Wilkenfeld states that stand-up comedy is one of her favorite forms of entertainment.[24] She has appeared on several comedians' podcasts, promoting her album Love Remains, from Marc Maron, Bill Burr, and twice on Jeff Ross's podcast, once with Dave Attell. She co-wrote and produced a song for Marc Maron named "New Boots" for a movie titled Sword of Trust.

Wilkenfeld is Jewish.[25]


Wilkenfeld endorses Sadowsky bass guitars and strings,[26] EBS Professional Bass Equipment amplifiers, cabinets, and effect pedals.[27]


Solo artist[edit]

  • 2016 - Corner Painter
  • 2018 - Under the Sun[28]
  • 2019 - Killing Me

With Jeff Beck[edit]

With Herbie Hancock[edit]

With Macy Gray[edit]

With Lee Ritenour[edit]

With Jackson Browne[edit]

With Trevor Rabin[edit]

With Wayne Krantz[edit]

With Steve Lukather[edit]

With Ryan Adams[edit]

With Toto[edit]

With Todd Rundgren[edit]

With Keith Urban[edit]

With Prince[edit]

DVD and Blu-ray[edit]

With Jeff Beck[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Tal Wilkenfeld 2016 tour". bassplayer. NewBay Media. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Meet the Who's Opening Act: Bass Sensation Tal Wilkenfeld". rollingstone. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Meet the Who's Opening Act: Bass Sensation Tal Wilkenfeld". Rolling Stone. 3 March 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Bass Ace Tal Wilkenfeld Branches Out With Solo 'Killing Me': Premiere". Billboard. 29 January 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Billboard Heatseeker Charts: Premiere". Billboard.
  6. ^ "Tal Wilkenfeld: A Bass Virtuoso Steps into the Spotlight". Rolling Stone. 31 May 2019.
  7. ^ a b Jisi, Chris (8 October 1976). "Tal Wilkenfeld: Thunder From Down Under". Bass Player. pp. 48–51. ProQuest 199959496. Born in 1985 in Bondi, Ausiralia, a beach suburb of Sydney, Tal had an early ear for music, humming along with Vivaldi. At age 14 she began guitar lessons, learning all the open chords and writing a song the first day. A year later, she heard and met Victor Woolen at a Béla Fleck & the Flecktones concert and became smitten with bass, as well. Firmly focused on becoming a musician and studying in the U.S. (and with the help of faculty member/Australian guitar god Frank Gambale), she headed to Pasadena at age 16 to attend the Los Angeles Music Academy. Following six months of guitar studies, she switched to bass for her second year at LAMA. While jamming at the 2003 NAMM Show, Tal was noticed by famed New York bass builder Roger Sadowsky, who gave her an endorsement. Upon coming to New York City to check on her Sadowsky bass, she met two of her musical heroes, Anthony Jackson and guitarist Wayne Krantz. By spring 2004, Tal had moved to Manhattan and was soon playing in jazz clubs with Hiram Bullock, Kenwood Dennard, Jeff 'Tain' Watts, and others.
  8. ^ a b McCulley, Jerry 2 August 2008 Meet Tal Wilkenfeld, Jeff Beck’s Young Aussie Bass Prodigy Archived 6 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Bibby, Paul (28 April 2007). "Ace of bass just doing her thing". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  10. ^ Shelter, Matthew (19 March 2016). "Tal Wilkenfeld Paints The Corners". jambands. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  11. ^ "Tal Wilkenfeld official website". Talwilkenfeld.com. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  12. ^ a b c "Inside the Making of Prince's Posthumous Album, Welcome 2 America". esquire. 30 July 2021. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  13. ^ "25th ANNVERSARY ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME CONCERT, THE (TV)". Paley Center for Media. 29 November 2009. Credits: "Tal Wilkenfeld – performer, Jeff Beck Band". Retrieved 19 February 2023.
  14. ^ Fanelli, Damian (21 May 2012). "Video: Jeff Beck and Mick Jagger Perform Election-Themed Blues on 'Saturday Night Live'". guitarworld.
  15. ^ "Toto XIV (2015)". Steve Lukather official website. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  16. ^ "Running Whiskey - Supersonic Blues Machine". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Bob Weir & Wolf Bros Welcome Tal Wilkenfeld & Cover Donovan in Santa Barbara". JamBase. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  18. ^ "Bob Weir And Wolf Bros Welcome Steve Kimock, Tal Wilkenfeld, Guest Horns in Tour Finale". liveforlivemusic. 20 November 2018. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  19. ^ Matt Owen. "See Tal Wilkenfeld play Wish You Were Here, Anna Molly with Incubus in first live show with the band". Retrieved 28 January 2023.
  20. ^ 15 March 2017 Netflix show LOVE season two’s music hits the mark, Passtheeaux.co
  21. ^ Zemler, Emily (23 July 2019). "Watch Bassist Tal Wilkenfeld Perform Two Tracks on 'Kimmel'". Rolling Stone.
  22. ^ "Bass Prodigy Tal Wilkenfeld Steps into Her Own Spotlight". Popdust.com. 28 April 2019.
  23. ^ Jisi, Chris. "Tal Wilkenfeld: Root Awakening". Bassmagazine.com. Retrieved 14 December 2021.
  24. ^ Spuhler, Robert (3 March 2019). "With 'Love Remains,' Tal Wilkenfeld is raising her voice | amNewYork". Amny.com. Retrieved 14 December 2021.
  25. ^ "City to Surf: 1997 Division Results". The Sydney Morning Herald. 17 August 1997. p. 95. Retrieved 18 January 2023.
  26. ^ "Featured Artists - Tal Wilkenfeld". Sadowsky Guitars. Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2007.
  27. ^ "EBS Artists". EBS Sweden AB. Archived from the original on 12 August 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  28. ^ Official video on YouTube.

Further reading[edit]

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