Australian by birth, Tal Wilkenfeld began playing guitar at age 14. Two years later, feeling “this just isn’t going to work out for me,” she dropped out of high school and emigrated to the United states. A year later, having changed her instrument to bass guitar, she graduated in 2004 from the prestigious Los Angeles Music Academy College of Music.
That same year, she moved to New York City, and began performing with numerous greats – as a guest with the Allman Brothers, then with Chick Corea, Jeff Beck, Wayne Krantz, Herbie Hancock, Eric Clapton, and many others. As the lead for her own act, she has earned critical acclaim as one of the most exciting new artists of recent memory.
1. Tal Wilkenfeld – “Serendipity Live”
Considered a child prodigy on the piano, Taylor Eigsti was invited to perform with jazz pianist Dave Brubeck at age 12 (who referred to him as “one of the most amazing talents I have ever heard”), and became a faculty member at the Stanford Jazz Workshop at 15. After a brief time at USC’s Thornton School of Music, he dropped out and embarked on a music career. Since then, he has produced seven albums, and has been nominated for two Grammy Awards.
2. Taylor Eigsti – “Get Your Hopes Up”
Apollo Fallout is an original rock and roll band out of Gainesville FL. Their official bio says, “We look forward to showing the public that (original) classic hard rock isn’t dead.” Next year in early spring AF will release a new EP titled “Big Rock,” with a full-length record sometime later that year.
3. Apollo Fallout – “Big City Lies”
A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Ali (Paris) Amr is a master of the Qanun, a large, zither-like instrument heard in the Middle East and southeast Europe. In addition to his own act, the Ali Amr Experiment, he has performed with such notables as Jack DeJohnette, Bobby McFerrin, Chick Corea, Esperanza Spalding, and many others.
4. Ali (Paris) Amr – “Mars Trance”
Together for well over 20 years, the Pittsburgh-based band has produced nine studio albums, two live albums, a compilation album, an EP and four solo releases, selling nearly a quarter of a million copies. Still primarily a regional band, they nevertheless have received national critical acclaim.