Debut Records

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Debut Records
Founded1952 (1952)
FounderCharles Mingus
Celia Mingus
Max Roach
Defunct1957 (1957)
Country of originU.S.
LocationNew York City

Debut Records was an American jazz record company and label founded in 1952 by bassist Charles Mingus, his wife Celia, and drummer Max Roach.[1]

This short-lived label was an attempt to avoid the compromises of working for major companies. Intended to showcase performances by new musicians, only about two dozen albums were issued before the company closed in 1957.[2] Nonetheless, several prominent jazz musicians made their first recordings as leaders for Debut, including pianist Paul Bley, and trumpeters Kenny Dorham and Thad Jones. Saxophonist Hank Mobley made his recording debut on the label, as a sideman with Roach.[3] Teo Macero, later a producer with Miles Davis, recorded his first album as a leader as a saxophonist for Debut, an album described by critic Dan Morgenstern[4] as an oddball fusion of Lennie Tristano and Anton Webern.

Debut was the label on which the Jazz at Massey Hall concert album was first issued. Recorded in Toronto, it features Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach, and was the last recorded meeting of long-term musical partners Parker and Gillespie.

In 1957, Danish bookseller Ole Vestegaard leased the company's catalogue from Mingus and produced recordings on the Danish Debut label by American jazz musicians who settled in Copenhagen or played at Jazzhus Montmartre.[5]

After Celia and Charles Mingus divorced, Celia married Saul Zaentz in 1960. Charles gave the Zaentzes control of the rights to Debut catalog as a wedding gift. Mingus thought the gift fitting as Celia had handled the bulk of Debut's business affairs, and most of the seed money came from Celia's mother. Zaentz was later head of Fantasy Records,[4] where the Debut recordings were subsequently reissued from 1962–1964.[6]

A 12-CD set of the Debut recordings featuring Mingus, the majority of the label's output, was issued by Fantasy Records in 1990.[7] A four-CD sequence entitled Mingus Rarities (Original Jazz Classics) collected some of the more obscure material featuring Mingus.


Debut Ten Inch series (10 inch LP)

Debut Twelve Inch series (12 inch LP):

  • DEB 120 Miles Davis - Blue Moods
  • DEB 121 John Dennis - New Piano Expressions
  • DEB 122 John LaPorta - Three Moods
  • DEB 123 Charles Mingus - Mingus at the Bohemia
  • DEB 124 The Quintet - Jazz at Massey Hall
  • DEB 125 Alonzo Levister - Manhattan Monodrama
  • DEB 126 Jazz Workshop - Trombone Rapport / Trombone Workshop (reissue of DLP 5 & DLP 14)
  • DEB 127 Thad Jones - Thad Jones
  • DEB 128 Charles Mingus - Chazz! (not released)
  • DEB 129 Jimmy Knepper - New Faces (some of the material appeared on Debut DL 101 - Danish EP)
  • DEB 198 Jazz Workshop - Autobiography in Jazz

Danish Debut Twelve Inch series (12 inch LP):

  • DEB 130 The Four Trombones – Trombone Rapport
  • DEB 131 Coleman Hawkins/Bud Powell/Oscar Pettiford/Kenny Clarke - The Essen Jazz Festival All Stars
  • DEB 132 Oscar Pettiford and His Jazz Groups - My Little Cello
  • DEB 133 The Axen/Jaedig Jazz Groups (Bent Axen/Bent Jædig) - Let's Keep the Message
  • DEB 134 Jorn Elniff - Music for Mice and Men
  • DEB 135 Louis Hjulmand & Allan Botschinsky Featuring Oscar Pettiford - Blue Brothers/Blue Bros.
  • DEB 136 Eric Dolphy - Eric Dolphy in Europe
  • DEB 137 Brew Moore - Brew Moore in Europe
  • DEB 138 Cecil Taylor - Live at the Cafe Montmartre
  • DEB 139 Charles Mingus - Chazz!
  • DEB 140 Albert Ayler - My Name Is Albert Ayler
  • DEB 141 Sahib Shihab - Sahib's Jazz Party
  • DEB 142 Don Byas - Don Byas' 30th Anniversary Album
  • DEB 143 The Contemporary Jazz Quartet Featuring Sonny Murray - Action
  • DEB 144 Albert Ayler - Ghosts
  • DEB 145 [no issue/no information]
  • DEB 146 Albert Ayler - Spirits
  • DEB 147 Paul Bley Trio - Touching
  • DEB 148 Cecil Taylor Jazz Unit - Nefertiti, the Beautiful One Has Come
  • DEB 149 Bent Jaedig - Bent Jaedig Quintet
  • DEB 150 Palle Mikkelborg Og Radio Jazz Gruppen - The Mysterious Corona
  • DEB 151 The Contemporary Jazz Quintet - T.C.J.Q.
  • DEB 198 Jazz Workshop - Autobiography in Jazz
  • DEB 1148 Hugh Steinmetz - Nu!

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Priestley, Brian (1982). Mingus: A Critical Biography. London: Quartet Books. p. 46. ISBN 0-7043-2275-7.
  2. ^ Debut Records discography at; accessed January 2, 2012
  3. ^ Pekar, H. A View of Debut, Metro, Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 1997
  4. ^ a b See Morgenstern's notes for the 4-CD set The Debut Records Story
  5. ^ Jazzistmark: The Legengary Debut Label accessed May 2, 2016
  6. ^ Fantasy's Debut Series at Discogs
  7. ^ Charles Mingus - The Complete Debut Recordings at Discogs

External links[edit]