My answer on Quora
‘Prolific’ is a sublime understatement when it comes to the pace at which Mingus added to his catalog of work. In a 20-year period, Mingus recorded more than 40 albums! To give you insight into this man’s world, you should read ‘Beneath the Underdog’. He says his work was created from a personality split – the observer, the animal, and the sucker. I definitely agree that his best album was The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady but here are a few others….
Mingus Ah Um: This Columbia Records album is probably his most recognizable work. I love the opening song “Better Git It In Your Soul” which is one of his better knownhits. However, there are a bunch of other songs such as “Bird Calls”, “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”, “Open Letter to Duke”, “Jelly Roll” & “Fables of Faubus”.
Pithecanthropus Erectus: This was more of a fusion album but a darn good one at that. To get a taste of Mingus, listen to “A Foggy Day”. Amiri Baraka called this album a “massive orchestral breakthrough”. Many albums sprung from his work on this album.
Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus: This album featured vocals ..a departure from his normalcy. It seems like he was trying to poke fun at the free jazz movement. Listen to “Original Faubus Fables” to get a taste of his unruly humor.