The Complete Debut Recordings

Charles Mingus

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The Complete Debut Recordings Review

by Scott Yanow

This mammoth 12-CD box set may not contain Charles Mingus' most significant recordings (those would take place shortly after these sessions), but there is a remarkable amount of exciting and somewhat innovative music in this reissue of all of the dates recorded for Mingus' Debut label. There are duets and trios with pianist Spaulding Givens, a variety of odd third stream originals (some with vocalist Jackie Paris and altoist Lee Konitz), the famous Massey Hall concert with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie (heard in two versions, one with Mingus' overdubbed bass), a four-trombone date with J.J. Johnson, Kai Winding, Bennie Green, and Willie Dennis, trio sets with pianists Paul Bley, Hazel Scott, and the obscure John Dennis, a quintet with trumpeter Thad Jones and Frank Wess on tenor and flute, Miles Davis' "Alone Together" session, a date led by trombonist Jimmy Knepper, a completely unissued 1957 sextet session, and -- most importantly -- a greatly expanded live session with trombonist Eddie Bert and tenor saxophonist George Barrow that found Mingus finally finding himself musically. Many of these performances are now also available in smaller sets, but this attractive box (which has 64 previously unissued tracks among the 169 selections) is the best way to acquire this valuable music.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Charles Mingus 03:02 Amazon
2 Charles Mingus 03:38 Amazon
3 Charles Mingus 03:05 Amazon
4 Charles Mingus 03:34 Amazon
5 Charles Mingus 03:33 Amazon
6 Charles Mingus 03:10 Amazon
7 Charles Mingus 03:37 Amazon
8 Charles Mingus 03:37 Amazon
9 Charles Mingus 03:03 Amazon
10 Charles Mingus 03:11 Amazon
11 Charles Mingus 03:10 Amazon
12 Charles Mingus 03:01 Amazon
13 Charles Mingus 03:01 Amazon
14 Charles Mingus 02:48 Amazon
15 Charles Mingus 02:42 Amazon
16 Charles Mingus 02:43 Amazon
17 Charles Mingus 03:04 Amazon
18 Charles Mingus 03:12 Amazon
19 Charles Mingus 02:54 Amazon
20 Charles Mingus 03:42 Amazon
21 Charles Mingus 02:38 Amazon
22 Charles Mingus 03:24 Amazon
23 Charles Mingus 02:39 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick