This handsomely packaged and thoroughly annotated set represents the most significant early work of Charles Mingus: his complete recorded output as leader and sideman for the Debut label.
The 169 selections (including 58 previously unissued tracks) showcase Mingus with artists such as Pepper Adams, Art Blakey, Paul Bley, Kenny Clarke, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, J.J. Johnson, Elvin Jones, Thad Jones, Hank Jones, Wynton Kelly, Jimmy Knepper, Lee Konitz, John Lewis, Charlie Parker, Oscar Pettiford, Bud Powell, Max Roach, Art Taylor, Mal Waldron, and Kai Winding. The 40-page booklet features an informative essay by Ira Gitler plus session notes, photos, and discographical details.
A musician-owned and -run record company, Debut had been conceived as a means for Mingus and his partner Max Roach to get their own compositions recorded. During Debut’s seven-year existence, from 1951 to 1958, Mingus emerged as not only an indispensable player in company operations but a vital force in the music as well -- a giant on his instrument, an innovator in composition and bandleading, a mentor to up-and-coming musicians.
The music in this box, therefore, represents a fundamental chapter in the history of a jazz visionary.