DEBUT RECORDS was founded in 1952 by Charles Mingus, his wife Celia and Max Roach. The label was an experiment and an attempt to avoid the compromises of working for major companies. It was the first reasonably long-lived artist-operated jazz label of the 1950s.
Charles Mingus Photo: Bob Parent
Before the story ended in 1957 the recording activity of Debut led to more than 35 sessions, resulting in twelve 78s, two EPs, seventeen 10" LPs and nine 12" LPs.
The first LP album was a duo recording with Charles Mingus and pianist Spaulding Givens. The second was the famous Massey Hall recordings in 1953. Other highlights are considered to be the Kenny Dorham session; the first and second outlets of Thad Jones; the Miles Davis session and the Cafe Bohemia gig of the Charles Mingus Quintet.
In 1955-56 Charles Mingus and Max Roach had become established leaders and they were more involved with their musical careers than to operate a record company. So gradually the Debut label faltered. An additional reason was that the two partners also had differences about the way they would run the company.
The American Debut was purchased by Fantasy Records in the early 1960s.
BOB PARENT was a New York-based photographer whose images appeared regulary in magazines such as Life and Downbeat, in books like "Jazz Is" by Nat Hentoff, and on album covers for labels as Prestige, Debut, Bethlehem and Savoy.
He spent countless nights in the dimly lit jazz clubs of Boston and New York, and developed ingenious ways to sidestep the use of flash in order to avoid disturbing performers. Bob Parent's subjects also include sporting events, theater, politicians and New York and Boston city life.
Kenny Dorham Quintet Label: Debut DLP-9 10" LP 1954 Photo: Bob Parent
Charles Mingus - Spaulding Givens: Strings and Keys Label: Debut DLP-1 10" LP 1953
The Quintet: Jazz at Massey Hall Label: Debut DLP-2 10" LP 1953
Bud Powell: Jazz at Massey Hall Label: Debut DLP-3 10" LP 1953
J.J. Johnson a.o.: Jazz Workshop Label: Debut DLP-5 10" LP 1953
Introducing Paul Bley Label: Debut DLP-7 10" LP 1954 Design: Bill Spilka
Oscar Pettiford: The New Sextet Label: Debut DLP-8 10" LP 1953
Charles Mingus Octet Label: Debut EP-450 7" EP 1954 Design: Gene Bilbrew
The Max Roach Septet Label: Debut EP-451 7" EP 1954 Design: Bill Spilka
Sam Most Quartet Plus Two Label: Debut DLP-11 10" LP 1954 Photo: Bob Parent
The fabulous Thad Jones Label: Debut DLP-12 10" LP 1954
Max Roach Quartet featuring Hank Mobley Label: Debut DLP-13 10" LP 1955
Hazel Scott: Relaxed Piano Moods Label: Debut DLP-16 10" LP 1955
Charles Mingus - Thad Jones: Jazz Collaborations Label: Debut DLP-17 10" LP 1955
Miles Davis: Blue Moods Label: Debut DEB-120 12" LP 1955
John La Porta: Three Moods Label: Debut DEB-122 10" LP 1954 Design: Kiriki
Charles Mingus: Mingus at the Bohemia Label: Debut DEB-123 123" LP 1955
The Quintet: Jazz at Massey Hall Label: Debut DEB-124 12" LP 1956
Thad Jones Label: Debut DEP-127 12" LP 1958