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Charles Mingus’ earliest recordings as a leader will be released at the end of this month by Uptown Records. Charles ‘Baron’ Mingus West Coast 1945-49 collects every track the great bassist/composer recorded for the obscure, independent labels Excelsior, Four Star, Dolphins of Hollywood, Fentone and Rex Hollywood.

Uptown has taken great care in presenting these rare recordings. Sound restoration engineer Seth B. Winner transferred the tracks from the original pressings and metal masters, cleaning up the sound of the original 78s. There is an accompanying, 96 page booklet that lists complete and accurate personnel’s and information detailing where and when each track was recorded. Also included in the booklet are photos of Mingus and the band members as well as reproductions of the original 78 labels.

Uptown’s release of these rare 78s fills in an important chapter in the early history of one of the 20th Century’s most important composers. The music on this disc offers the Mingus collector and researcher a glimpse into the development of Charles Mingus in his mid-twenties exercising his creative abilities as a composer, arranger, bassist and bandleader. If you lost your old Mingus 78s in a move, or if your Victrola doesn’t spin anymore, you need only wait until January 30th to hear these tunes on compact disc.

Originally Published