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Debut Rarities, Vol. 1

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Album Review

The independent Debut record label was founded in 1952 by Charles Mingus, his wife Celia Mingus, and drummer Max Roach. It was an early assertion of power and autonomy by creative musicians whose every move embodied an uncompromising approach to life and work. During the early '90s, Fantasy's Original Jazz Classics released a series of CDs containing all of the master and alternate takes from the Debut catalog, generally lumping two sessions together from different stages in the Debut chronology. Vol. 1 combines material recorded by the Charles Mingus Octet on October 28, 1953 (tracks one through six, five of which were originally released on a 10" LP as Jazz Workshop: Autobiography in Jazz), by the Jimmy Knepper Quintet on July 10, 1957 (tracks seven through 11, released on a 10" LP as New Faces), and three alternates from the Knepper date. Studying the evolution of Mingus and his circle of artists throughout the 1950s is an endless source of wonderment for those who are so inclined. In addition to bassist Mingus and trombonist Knepper, key participants include trumpeter Ernie Royal; woodwind handlers Joe Maini, Teo Macero, and Eddie Caine; cellist Jackson Wiley; pianist John Lewis; and vocalist Janet Thurlow.


Born: 22 April 1922 in Nogales, AZ

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Irascible, demanding, bullying, and probably a genius, Charles Mingus cut himself a uniquely iconoclastic path through jazz in the middle of the 20th century, creating a legacy that became universally lauded only after he was no longer around to bug people. As a bassist, he knew few peers, blessed with a powerful tone and pulsating sense of rhythm, capable of elevating the instrument into the front line of a band. But had he been just a string player, few would know his name today. Rather, he was...
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