Most cataloging and archiving applications available today are really good at helping you fill out a million data fields, automatically look up a CD on the Internet or download covers. But they have one big problem: they don’t produce reports suitable for displaying chronological recording sessions for print discographies. If you are used to those, most programs are inadequate.
Enter Brian4. This free and, I’m sorry to say, butt-ugly application impresses with it’s ability, not its looks. It is named after Brian Rust, who perfected the chronological recording session format for print discographies and Brian 2.1, for example, was used to compile the discography in the Sinatra Singles box from Capitol. It is a deceptively simple application that helps the user enter data in a way that he/she can produce a (jazz) discography when done. So, what we have here is a discographical tool as opposed to an inventory tool.
Brian 4 then doesn’t center on the CD or artists but on the recording session itself, including relevant session information such as the session location, the date, full personnel, master numbers and the like. On top of that, composers and issues (full titles and catalog numbers) can be entered.
At the end you have a standards-compliant discography, and if you did focus on a (jazz) artist that others haven’t covered yet, you can submit your discography to the growing pool over on Jazzdiscography.com, the “home” of Brian and its “output”.
It is certainly tedious to enter all the data, although the author provides a starting data pool you can install with Brian4, but the result oif all the work is very satisfying. If you have a larger jazz collection, you should really look into this program.
Brian is free for non-commercial use. Download it from Jazzdiscography.com.
Note: Do have a look at the many discographies available on the site to see what Brian4 can do for you.