1. Charles Mingus Although Charles Mingus probably could have performed professionally as a pianist, as evidenced on Mingus Plays Piano and Oh Yeah, he was an absolute monster on the bass, as well an incredibly gifted composer. While his bass skills can be heard on the outstanding 1953 Jazz at Massey Hall live album with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell and Max Roach, his landmark 1959 Columbia disc, Mingus Ah Um, is hailed by some as his finest recording. It's certainly a great place to start for uninitiated. The disc showcases the bassist's affinity for gospel on songs like "Better Get Hit in Yo' Soul," while also paying homage to Lester Young on the gorgeous "Good Bye Porkpie Hat," as well as tributes to two of his biggest influences, Duke Ellington and Jelly Roll Morton.
See also: - The ten best jazz guitarists of all time - The ten best saxophonists of all time - The ten best trumpeters of all time - The ten best pianists of all time