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Edward Berger and Jim Farrington

Accurate information about recorded performances is essential in jazz, where recordings rather than scores or sheet music are the principal sources for study. Take numbers are particularly important to the study of jazz, since two versions of the same piece, recorded only minutes apart, may differ significantly. With the advent of the LP tape mastering in the late 1940s (and subsequent elimination of unique disc masters), the discographically convenient use of matrix and take designations was lost; an LP may contain many unrelated performances of diverse origins (even within the same track), the identification of which poses particular problems for the discographer. These difficulties are often compounded by insufficient or misleading information supplied by record manufacturers.

The first extensive discographical works were devoted to jazz. The term “discography” itself was introduced in the 1930s as growing numbers of jazz enthusiasts sought to establish accurate information about personnel and recording dates. Early researchers also had to contend with the pseudonymous issuing of numerous recordings by well-known jazz bands. The field of jazz discography has been dominated from the start by Europeans. Two pioneering discographical works were published in ...