Carolbeth True


News & Reviews


• An interview with Carolbeth from St. Louis Women On the Move magazine, July/August 2006 issue can be found here.

St. Louis Magazine named Carolbeth True "Musician of the Year" for 2004. "The passing of the great Oliver Sain made this choice harder, as our town is blessed with a plethora of phenomenal musicians. But it's Carolbeth True's dedication to the ivories that makes us all grateful she calls St. Louis her home. Whether backed by her joy-inducing trio or playing a more supporting role with Hard Bop Heritage or Sessions Big Band groups, her playing is always original and inspired. If you're especially lucky, you'll catch the set where she tackles 'Birdland.'"

• A story on Carolbeth from The Riverfront Times, August 1st, 2001 issue can be found here.



Carolbeth Trio

With the release of this marvelous disc perhaps the rest of the country will at last find out what St. Louis has known for a long time; Carolbeth True is one incredibly talented lady. Equally at home with the Ravel Piano Concerto and a Thelonious Monk tune, True here debuts her trio featuring electric bassist Glen Smith and percussionist Alan Schilling.

This is obviously a working band performing tunes honed to perfection by many nights on stage. Every tune is full of surprises; new harmonization, clever intros, tight unisons. The soloing is first class, and the recording by Jack Petracek is a marvel of clarity and depth. In short, this is a record worthy of major label release.

The group's repertoire is wide ranging and delightful. From a burning version of the Charlie Parker classic 'Billie's Bounce' to a subtle reworking of Cole Porter's 'Night and Day' to a wonderfully syncopated take on 'Ease On Down the Road' from 'The Wiz', this group covers all styles with ease. Especially noteworthy are two Glen Smith compositions, the mysterious bossa nove 'Maze' and a beautiful ballad 'ABC'. True contributes a clever and harmonically challenging latin tune 'Gentle Samba'.

Carolbeth's pianism is truly wondrous. She is capable of gentl, light fingered lyricism as well as hard driving bebop. One moment she alludes to McCoy Tyner, the next to Bud Powell, the next to Headhunters era Herbie Hancock. At all times, however, she playes with a distinctive, authoritative sound and a melodic and rhythmic language that are hers alone.

Glen Smith is a virtuoso electric bassist. He is particularly impressive on funkier numbers such as 'Song for my Father' where his 'snappin' and poppin'' style places the bass in the role of a percussion instrument. Alan Schilling is a most creative drummer. Never content to merely keep time, Schilling comments on the music, clever but never obtrusive. Together Smith and Schilling lay down a carpet of energy for True's flights of fancy.

This is a big league recording, an auspicious debut for a pianist of great talent and endless imagination. You won't be disappointed; get it."

- Steve Schenkel

New World Harmonica Jazz

"St. Louis musician Sandy Weltman is probably best-known for his work on banjo and harmonica with his band the Sandroids. Although he usually concentrates on banjo, he occasionally showcases his excellent technique on harmonica.

With his new CD release, New World Harmonica (Wildstone Audio), Weltman focuses exclusively on that instrument. And, backed by three fine St. Louis jazz musicians-pianist Carolbeth True, bassist Glen Smith and drummer Kevin Gianino-Weltman showcases his own tasty jazz chops on tunes by the likes of King Oliver, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Lee Morgan, Chick Corea and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Harmonica certainly isn't a mainstay in the jazz insturmental lineup, especially when it comes to the basic 10-hole diatonic harmonica 'blues harp.' Famed jazz harmonica cats such as Toots Thielemans work with 12- and 16-hold chromatic harmonicas-instruments that make it easy to whip through several octaves of notes.

But thanks to breakthrough techniques developed by contemporary harmonica players such as the great Howard Levy, the range of the diatonic harmonica has been greatly expanded-for those with the skill to make it work. Weltman certainly has that skill, as he demonstrates on every cut of New World Harmonica. Check out his funky work on Morgan's 'Sidewinder,' his soulful, highly imaginative take on ''Round Midnight' or the swinging groove he finds on 'West End Blues.'

But there's much more to appreciate on this recording than Weltman's harmonica. True-one of our town's finest pianists-turns in fine efforts on every cut. And her powerful, dramatic solo turn on Corea's 'Spain' is a finely crafted marvel. Smith is strong throughout, and his electric bass-playing on 'Sidewinder' hits a groove that just doesn't quit. Gianino's precise drummming keeps everything on time and on target, and special guests Brian Casserly and Dave Black add nice touches as well.

Great musicians on a fine selection of tunes, recorded with clarity make New World Harmonica one of the best recordings by local musicians I've heard in some time. Highly recommended... "

-Sound Checks