Jump to Navigation

J-DISC mission and Scholarly Work

To all,

I'm initiating this discussion thread for panelists to discuss the uses of J-DISC for their own scholarly work, to suggest avenues for further research that it might support, or to discuss particular session or other information already in J-DISC in this light.

In the near future, we should have the benefit of contributions from A. J. Johnson and Jennifer Griffith on this topic, with many more in the offing.



Discussion Topic: 


I would like to share some thoughts on what I would like to see in an advanced jazz discoraphy resource. To this point, my work has not been much driven by individual performances or sessions, but rather kind of musican-social-collective or institutional activies. However, a great database would be very useful as a research tool and I will try to get a few of my thoughts into this post.


  1. I have been using one of the internet's great assets since it had an email driven interface--IMDB. Most folks are of course familiar with wikis and wikepedia in particular. The hyperlinking of imdb.com makes it a great pleasure to rumble around in, and the popularity of its subjet matter, movies and tv, have presented a great neumber of monetizing opportunities for it. Including movie/tv related advertising, point of sale for dvds and streams, and a industry/professional level of imdb with more information geared towards insiders. I think we have a lot to learn from this two-tiered model. Most importantly, imdb has an active message baord, where mostly crap is exchanged, but also so valuable but hard to file information is shared. For example, besides stupid flames and discussions about who is hot or not, fans often ask one another about music featured in the film (something I have found useful in my film music studies). I can imagine that on j-disc, sax players might annotate a session with information about changes in horns or mouthpieces, or the installation of a new mixing consile in a studio, etc.
  2. Datamining capabilities would be useful.  I am often interested in rank and file jazz figures and not iconic stars. Will I be able to find all the sessions or tracks in the database taht have certain combinations of players? Can I get reports out of the database that lists in chronological order all the sessions for a given musician (useful for biography for certain)? If I was researching Van Gelder Studios or Teo Macero, could I get a chronological list of all their sessions?
  3. The scope of j-disc is tricky. My work is often concerned with the boundaries of jazz. Would I be able to find all the sessions, regardless of genre that Jerome Richardson or George Bohannon were involved in?

AJ, thank you for this insight about #1. I'll make sure we pay close attention to IMDB in the business planning phase of this project. The two-tiered concept is especially interesting.

Let me respond to your other items more directly:

2. Yes to all of your questions. Provided we get sufficient basic data into J-DISC, that is. All of these types of searches or sorts should be readily available to any user in the current structure.


3. There is no reason in principle that performers on the boundaries of jazz or improvised music should not be in J-DISC. In practice, it is next to impossible to say we will commit to anything that might be of interest, say because a recognized "jazz" performer happened to be present, or there was some element of improvisation despite no linkage with what has been dubbed jazz. The solution is to welcome anything someone wants to provide, that they can make a case is of interest to jazz studies broadly conceived (i.e., part of American studies, musicology, popular music studes, sociology, etc.). And then we will get it into the database. If someone does not want that type of result in their lookups, we have style tags to help sort them out (or to indicate, where there are large quantities, what should or should not be in depending on a specific research agenda). That's why we need style tags, which have been a subject of debate.