It’s hard to imagine an old profit-mongering fossil fuel giant like Standard Oil “investing” in African-American culture, but then many corporate criminals have done less to assuage their consciences after plundering the riches of the earth including the music of the African-American. Louis Armstrong, however, was no fool and used every opportunity to put the Blues and Jazz – the music of his people – in the spotlight for the world to see. The Standard Oil Sessions were recorded in 1950, but never released, although according to Ricky Riccardi’s short note as part of this CD package, the recordings often surfaced in the collectors’ underground. This CD version has been edited and remastered from acetate discs from the “complete recording session” preserved with the rest of the research collections of the Louis Armstrong House Museum and issued “officially” for the first time by Dot Time Records.
To all appearances this session appears to have been approached with vigour by the legendary Jazz immortals, Earl “Fatha” Hines and Jack Teagarden, natural peers of the greatest of them all, Louis Armstrong and his realm heard to especially great effect on “Muskrat Ramble”, “Basin Street Blues” and “Up The Lazy River”. But throughout, Louis Armstrong reigns supreme. Whether delivering jazz standards such as “Up The Lazy River” or blues classics such as “Basin Street Blues” his musicality and power are remarkable, making everything he touches his own, illuminating the simplest phrase. HIS showmanship is as natural as his musicianship; in both he appears to reach out to his audience, as you can hear in the applause as well as in the awestruck reactions of the disc-jockeys, Clancy Hayes and Jack Cahill. You can also hear why younger musicians today, even those sceptical of Louis Armstrong The Entertainer, remain awed by The Master of Jazz and a life force – less a man, than a miracle.
This record – any record that features Louis Armstrong – will certainly go towards adorning the crown jewels of Jazz that rightfully belongs to Satchmo or – more appropriately Pops. After all it was Louis Armstrong who defined almost everything relating to African-American indeed popular American music as it has come to be known today, from Bebop to Hip-Hop, so to speak. Production values are excellent. The CD package lacks the detail and elegance of a Resonance Records production. There is a DVD package, which is rumoured to have a 20-page booklet, but that has been minted in a very limited edition – something lesser mortals are not supposed to be privy to, it would appear. Where are the ill-gotten gains of oil when you need it?
Track List – 1; Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans; 2: Muskrat Ramble; 3: Basin Street Blues; 4: Struttin’ With Some Barbecue; 5: Boogie Woogie On St. Louis Blues; 6: Way Down Yonder In New Orleans; 7: Panama: 8: Up The Lazy River; 9: Back O’Town Blues. 10 & 11: Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans (1st and 2nd Rehearsal Takes)
Personnel: Louis Armstrong: trumpet & vocals; Jack Teagarden: trombone & vocals; Earl “Fatha” Hines: piano; Lyle Johnson: clarinet; Clancy Hayes: guitar; Unknown bass & drums; with Hosts: Clancy Hayes (as Jack of All Tunes and Jack Cahill as Matt the Mapmaker
Label – Dot Time Records
Runtime – 53:12