Atlantic began issuing long-playing records in 1949, before most of their competitors. They were early to recognize the genius of Ray Charles and signed him in 1952. Riding a wave of R&B hits, they brought on Nesuhi Ertegun, Ahmet's brother, and gave him free rein for jazz signings. What followed was the growth of one of the most venerable and hip jazz and rock labels in the history of music. Signing popular jazz and R&B singers such as Ruth Brown, Chris Connor, Bobby Short and Mabel Mercer built a solid fan base of LP buyers. But when the label moved onto the new young modernists of the music, critics and the record buying public took notice. Landmark discs by saxophonist John Coltrane ("My Favorite Things", "Giant Steps"), bassist and composer Charles Mingus ("Blues n' Roots", "Mingus Ah Um") path-breaking alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman ("This Is Our Music", "Free Jazz") are acknowledged as some of the deepest and most influential works by musicians of that time.