One of the great performers and composers of jazz of the twentieth century, Charles Mingus was a continual innovator and improviser. From the mid 1950s with the release of Pithecanthropus Erectus, he produced 30 records in 10 years, mainly working with a midsized ensemble and developing new forms of free jazz. He was a notoriously difficult character, with the nickname 'the angry man of jazz'. An onstage fight led to him being fired from Duke Ellington's band and he had frequent brushes with people through his career before his early death in 1979. His final great work, Epitaph, over 2 hours long was first performed and recorded posthumously in 1989.