A request to record on a song featuring Steve Gadd for a highly worthwhile charity is not something that arrives every day, a fact Tal Wilkenfeld was fully aware of when just such a call came to lend her bass to Heartcore for Brazil’s latest single, “Nossa Voz,” on the Heartcore Records label owned by guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel. She explains, “I originally met Kurt through Aaron Parks, around 2010. We stayed in touch and hung out at Crossroads 2013 in New York, with Blake Mills. Later, when I was headed to Berlin, Jeremy Stacey reminded me that Kurt lived there. I booked a club show with less than a week’s notice, just to find a way to finally play with Kurt. Jeremy flew in from London too, and we performed my music with only the soundcheck to rehearse, which was a ton of fun. It was there that I met [Heartcore for Brazil project coordinator] Michaela Bóková.”
Wilkenfeld continues, “Earlier this year, Michaela reached out to me and asked me to be involved in this project. To be able to contribute to such an important cause and play with the terrific musicians involved was very rewarding. It feels great to give back to the community, and it’s wonderful that Micheala and Kurt do this every year.”
Tal played her Pelham Blue 1969 Fender Jazz Bass, recorded through an Avalon U5 DI, a Brent Averill Neve 1073 Clone Preamp, and a Universal Audio LA-2A Compressor—her “go-to” chain at her studio. Of her signature expressive, melodic approach to grounding the composition, she offers, “I was sent a version of the song with drums, acoustic guitar, vocals, and no bass, to record to. They also sent a separate demo with a bass part, but I purposely didn’t listen to it before recording my track. I like to go with my first instinct on a song, and typically don’t want a demo to influence what I would create naturally. Once I was done recording, I referenced the bass track they sent just for fun, and it turned out that I arrived at the same basic rhythmic approach with maybe a bit more movement.” Of her tasty fills in the outro she reveals, “Since the track didn’t have piano, electric guitar, or percussion on it yet, there was quite a bit of space to step out at certain moments.”
Although the two had met several times, Wilkenfeld had yet to play with drum legend Steve Gadd. “We almost got to record the song live together, but I was still on tour playing bass with Incubus on the dates that Steve was in L.A., so I missed him by a few days. Still, the opportunity to play to his track was amazing. His pocket, feel, and musical choices are one of a kind. I’ll never forget back when I was 18 and living in New York City, and Anthony Jackson mentoring me. He’d come to my club shows and we’d talk about them afterwards. One time, I was down on my playing and Anthony recounted something Steve Gadd told him when Anthony expressed similar doubts about a performance: ‘On your worst day, you’re still a bad M*ther F*cker!’ When I finally got to record with Steve, I chuckled to myself, thinking of that story from Anthony. I love full circle moments like these, and I’m grateful to have participated in this awesome project.”
Buy the Track and Learn More: HERE
About Heartcore for Brazil:
Kurt Rosenwinkel’s Berlin-based music label Heartcore Records has announced Heartcore for Brazil, the sixth annual edition in its Heartcore for the World outreach initiative. Building upon the success of five Heartcore Records charitable projects, Heartcore for Brazil will benefit the orphanage Instituto São José in Carangola, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Proceeds will also benefit Associação Cultural e Social Ressoar, a non-profit that provides music instruction, instruments, and group performance activities to local children in Carangola.
Today, Heartcore Records released “Nossa Voz”- a special collaboration between Heartcore Records artist Daniel Santiago and the children of Instituto São José and Associação Cultural e Social Ressoar. “Nossa Voz,” which translates from Portuguese to “Our Voice,” is composed by Santiago and features performances from many distinguished guest artists. Bassist Tal Wilkenfeld, pianist Shai Maestro, singer Jennifer Souza, percussionists Kainã Do Jêje and Ícaro Sá, and legendary drummer Steve Gadd all contribute an array of sonic textures that transport the listener into the magical world of Brazil.
In August of 2022 Michaela Bóková (Heartcore Records label manager, producer, and author of the Heartcore for the World initiative) traveled to Carangola, deep in the mountains of Minas Gerais, where she spent a month teaching the children of the orphanage, organizing the rehearsals, and recording and producing the song “Nossa Voz.”
“The entire community of Carangola supported and helped the project. Translators, sponsors, photographers, teachers, managers, sound engineers, and musicians became involved in our creative process. It was a beautiful thing to watch this unfold and direct the children through our musical adventure,” said Bóková.
The final mixing and production elements of “Nossa Voz” were handled by Charis Karantzas in Berlin, Germany.
Michaela Bóková and Heartcore Records are seeking global partnerships as they create Heartcore for the World, a ten-song compilation album featuring music from each annual Heartcore Records charity project. By providing underprivileged children much-needed access to musical equipment and training, Heartcore for the World is brightening the lives of many. Heartcore Records and its representatives know that music has an unlimited potential to connect, heal, and uplift people across the globe, and are committed to fulfilling this ideal through their continued efforts.