Of all the studies of musical recordings in various genres, session-based jazz discography is the most detailed and highly evolved, probably because the history of jazz is so closely intertwined with the history of recorded sound. While classical and popular styles most commonly use an issue-based approach that simply lists the records in chronological order with minimal details, the jazz discography long ago progressed from this and beginning with the pioneering work of Charles Delaunay, it has been made clear that the recording session is the primary organizing element.
Jazz recordings originate at the session (be it a studio date or a live engagement) and are only later issued in various ways – or not issued at all. So the records are only considered documents of the performances.
Brian Rust’s comprehensive Jazz Records, 1897-1942 continued the policy formulated by Delaunay and further refined the listing format.
At this point (nearly 85 years into the history of jazz discography), all serious jazz discographies use the session-based method and the BRIAN application was designed to replicate and enhance this basic approach, bringing it into the next century through the use of the most modern computer technology. Incidentally, for those interested in lists of records, an issue index (as well as musician and tune indices) can be automatically generated.