An insane overview of the early work of Charles Mingus – featuring 4 CDs worth of material, and a total of 88 tracks in all! The set starts with some of Mingus' first early recordings, often set inside larger groups for bigger names, but also getting a chance to work as a leader on his own sessions in some rare small label sides. The enormous set features Mingus recording on labels that include Apollo, Excelsior, Parrot, 4 Star, Decca, Dolphin's, Capitol, Discovery, Uptown, and finally his own label Debut – with groups led by players that include Oscar Pettiford, Lucky Thompson, Red Norvo, Stan Getz, Earl Hines, Lionel Hampton
, and Illinois Jacquet. Mingus himself leads a number of small groups – including some under his Baron Mingus and Strings & Keys name – and the set comes with a nice booklet that helps document the full scope, dates, and locations of the work. Titles include "Chazzanova", "Good Bait", "Budo", "Lyon's Roar", "Weird Nightmare", "Shuffle Bass Boogie", "Merle's Mood", "Boppin In Boston", "Swedish Pastry", "Inspiration (parts 1 & 2)", "Lady Bird", "Cello Again", "Smooch", and "Mingus Fingers".
(One of the spines on the outer clipcover is split.)