Greg Osby is one of the leading contemporary jazz composers and soloists. As far as I can tell, each of his albums is well thought out and unique, a project in its own right rather than simply a collection of compositions and sols. In light of my recent Louis Armstrong tear, I've been finding myself drawn to one Osby album in particular, his St. Louis Shoes, a collection of originals and others' compositions inspired by the musical history of Osby's home time. It also recalls the music of Armstrong and his early collaborators. At the same times, Osby's tunes, especially the first track, are often dark and haunting. And the soloing from this excellent band, which includes trumpeter Nicholas Payton, is first rate.