Everyone knows that Louis Armstrong was the first great jazz soloist and that almost everything he recorded during the 1920s achieves an astonishing level of near-ecstatic creativity, a level that has never been surpassed and rarely equaled by anyone. But it’s easy to fall into thinking that he didn’t challenge himself in the decades that followed, being satisfied to more or less coast. Real fans have always known that Armstrong could and did deliver superb jazz all along the way, no matter the setting, but perhaps it takes hearing music that has never been issued before to really make the point. And such music is heard on the Standard Oil Sessions, 1950 recordings that feature Louis and two giants who were in his band at the time, (trombonist) Jack Teagarden and (pianist) Earl Hines, along with an obscure clarinetist and mostly unidentified (but very solid) rhythm section. Hines and Teagarden are in great fettle, but it is an inspired Armstrong who steals the show. Jazz may have produced soloists who were cleverer, but none that were more truthful or moving. To say it’s wonderful is an enormous understatement.