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The Complete Debut Recordings (12 CD) Box set

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, September 14, 1990
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Editorial Reviews


The Debut label was created by bassist Charles Mingus and drummer Max Roach to get their compositions recorded and released, a landmark 1950s effort in the history of jazz musicians taking the initiative both to control their work and to make it public. This 12-CD set--nearly 14 hours of music--is an exhaustive collection of Mingus's work for the label, both as leader and sideman, abounding in unreleased takes and obscure sessions. Some of the material is well known, such as the extraordinary 1953 Massey Hall concert with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bud Powell along with Mingus and Roach, but it's heard here in both its original form as well the version with Mingus's overdubbed bass parts. Pianist Paul Bley recorded his first date as leader for Debut, in a trio with Mingus and Art Blakey, and that's here as well.

Mingus's own early work is here in abundance, from early third-stream efforts involving John Lewis and Lee Konitz to the 1955 quintet recordings at the Café Bohemia. What's most astonishing here, though, isn't the cast of greats--such as J.J. Johnson and the Jones brothers Elvin, Thad, and Hank--but the number of largely forgotten musicians with whom Mingus worked. The members of the 1955 band--such as saxophonist George Barrow and trombonist Eddie Bert--weren't well known then or later, but Mingus is clearly pressing them to the point where his own brooding, tempestuous music is beginning to take shape. With its wealth of alternate takes, this is clearly a set for the serious collector, an intimate and detailed portrait of Mingus in an era of tremendous creative ferment. --Stuart Broomer

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. What Is This Thing Called Love
  2. Darn That Dream
  3. Yesterdays
  4. Body And Soul
  5. Blue Moon
  6. Blue Tide
  7. Darn That Dream
  8. Jeepers Creepers (Take 1)
  9. Jeepers Creepers (Take 2)
  10. Portrait (Take 1)
  11. Portrait (Take 2)
  12. I've Lost My Love (Take 1)
  13. I've Lost My Love (Take 2)
  14. Extrasensory Perception
  15. Extrasensory Perception
  16. Precognition
  17. Make Believe
  18. Paris In Blue
  19. Montage
  20. Day Dream (Take 1)
  21. Day Dream (Take 2)
  22. Theme From 'Rhapsody In Blue' (Take 1)
  23. Theme From 'Rhapsody In Blue' (Take 2)

Disc: 2

  1. Jet (Take 1)
  2. Jet (Take 2)
  3. (Medley) You Go To My Head
  4. Can You Blame Me
  5. You And Me
  6. Bebopper
  7. Cupid
  8. Drum Conversation
  9. I've Got You Under My Skin
  10. Embraceable You
  11. Sure Thing
  12. Cherokee
  13. (Jubille) Hallelujah
  14. Lullaby Of Birdland
  15. Wee (Allen's Alley)
  16. Hot House
  17. A Night In Tunisia

Disc: 3

  1. Perdido
  2. Salt Peanuts
  3. All The Things You Are
  4. 52nd Street Theme
  5. Perdido
  6. Salt Peanuts
  7. All The Things You Are
  8. 52nd Street Theme
  9. Wee (Allen's Alley)
  10. Hot House
  11. A Night In Tunisia

Disc: 4

  1. Bass-ically Speaking (Take 1)
  2. Bass-ically Speaking (Take 2)
  3. Bass-ically Speaking (Take3)
  4. Bass-ically Speaking (Untitled Blues)
  5. (Untitled Blues)
  6. Wee Dot (Blues For Some Bones)
  7. Stardust
  8. Move
  9. I'll Remember April
  10. Now's The Time

Disc: 5

  1. Tromboshere
  2. Ow!
  3. Chazzanova (False Start Of 'Yesterdays')
  4. Yesterdays
  5. Kai's Day
  6. Pink Topsy
  7. Miss Bliss
  8. Blue Tide
  9. Pink Topsy
  10. Eclipse
  11. Eclipse
  12. Opus 1
  13. Opus 1
  14. (Teapot) Walkin'

Disc: 6

  1. Like Someone In Love
  2. I Can't Get Started
  3. Spontaneous Combustion
  4. The Theme
  5. Split Kick
  6. This Time The Dream's On Me
  7. Zootcase (Spoken Material)
  8. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
  9. The Pendulum At Falcon's Lair
  10. Jack The Fieldstalker
  11. Stockholm Sweetnin'
  12. Low And Behold
  13. Bitty Ditty
  14. Chazzanova
  15. I'll Remember April
  16. Elusive (Illusive)
  17. Sombre Intrusion
  18. You Don't Know What Love Is

Disc: 7

  1. Like Someone In Love
  2. Peace Of Mind
  3. Lament
  4. The Jeep Is Jumpin'
  5. Git Up From There
  6. A Foggy Day
  7. Mountain Greenery
  8. Git Up From There
  9. Lament
  10. One More
  11. I Can't Get Started
  12. More Of The Same
  13. Get Out Of Town
  14. One More

Disc: 8

  1. Get Out Of Town
  2. Ensenada
  3. Machajo
  4. Cherokee
  5. Seven Moons
  6. Seven Moons
  7. All The Things You Are (Take 1)
  8. All The Things You Are (Take 2)
  9. Cherokee
  10. Nature Boy
  11. Alone Together
  12. There's No You
  13. Easy Living

Disc: 9

  1. The Edge Of Love
  2. Makin' Whoopee
  3. Fanny
  4. Portrait
  5. Jump Monk
  6. Serenade In Blue
  7. Percussion Discussion
  8. Work Song
  9. September
  10. All The Things You C#
  11. I'll Remember April

Disc: 10

  1. Love Chant
  2. A Foggy Day
  3. Drums
  4. Haitian Fight Song
  5. Lady Bird
  6. Jump Monk (Spoken Introduction And False Start Of 'All The Things')
  7. All The Things You C# (Spoken Introduction And False Start Of 'Drums')
  8. Drums (Take 1)
  9. Drums (Take 2)

Disc: 11

  1. I'll Remember April (False Start Of 'A Foggy Day')
  2. A Foggy Day
  3. A Portrait Of Bud Powell (Piano Solo) (False Start Of 'Haitian Fight Song')
  4. Haitian Fight Song
  5. Love Chant
  6. Lady Bird
  7. What Is This Thing Called Love (Fragment)
  8. Latter Day Saint
  9. Cunningbird
  10. The Jumpin' Blues (Jump The Blues Away)
  11. The Masher
  12. Latter Day Saint (Take 1)
  13. Latter Day Saint (Take 2)

Disc: 12

  1. The Masher
  2. Latter Day Saint
  3. (Untitled Original Blues) (Take 1)
  4. Stella By Starlight (Take 4)
  5. Stella By Starlight (Take 5)
  6. (Untitled Original Composition) (Take 3)
  7. (Untitled Original Composition) (Take 5)
  8. Autumn In New York (Take 1)
  9. Autumn In New Yoek (Take 2)
  10. Long Ago And Far Away (Take 2)
  11. Long Ago And Far Away (Take 4)
  12. Long Ago And Far Away (Take 5)
  13. (Untitled Original Blues) (Take 2)
  14. Joldi (Take 4)
  15. Joldi (Take 5)
  16. (Untitled Percussion Composition)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 14, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 12
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Debut
  • ASIN: B000000XB6
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #538,966 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on September 21, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Wow! Extensive box set. All of this music is above average jazz, but not all of it is up to Mingus' standards. The music on this box was recorded before the initial breakthrough Mingus triumph of "Pithecantropus Erectus."
Mingus formed the small Debut record company in the early '50s with fellow jazz great, drummer Max Roach. Times were hard. Running the company and playing on all the tracks of his own albums, as well as others' albums took quite a toll on Mingus.
Until....Epithany. Mingus found the formula for success by allowing his players a freer, more improv approach, other than sticking to the written out structures. This worked. MINGUS AT THE BOHEMIA, included in it's entirety (which is far more than originally issued on the single album) really shows Mingus coming into his own as a leader.
Early versions of "Haitian Fight Song," and "A Foggy Day" are included, giving insight to each song's developement.
"Rhapsody In Blue," "Jeepers Creepers," "A Night In Tunisia," and "Cherokee" are standouts.
Contains a rare Miles Davis album, "Blue Moods," with Mingus on bass and Elvin Jones on drums. Very cool.
Also contains the entire "Jazz At Massey Hall" concert featuring Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Max Roach, and ofcourse, Charles Mingus.
If you are interested in the developement of Charles Mingus, this is a prime place to stop.
Very nice packaging and informative booklet.
May be too much material for the casual fan.
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Format: Audio CD
Even if you haven't heard much Mingus or Jazz for that matter, most of the music in this box set is way more creative than MOST artists/composers in any period of our history.
Please keep in mind that there are other artists which Mingus plays on or produces which are featured in this box set, after all Mingus and Roach owned Debut records. (therefore some of the music is written by other composers)
Sound quality is just ok, but not horrible. I would give it 3.2 stars out of 5.
Yet......the playing is absolutely extraordinary.
You also get to hear some Mingus compositions that have never been released on any of his later albums.
This long out of print box set is worth every penny in my opinion.


I DO NOT prefer the downloads from Amazon as they lack in quality which is clearly audible. Their mp3s transfer is only at about 192Kb/s which is only about one eighth of a CDs..... In fact 99% of downloads from any website out there are very poor quality so if you prefer to hear everything get the CDs and rip into highest quality settings of WAV or AIFF.
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