Merging or uniting eponymous bands (quartets, quintets and mainly jazz entities)

Thanks to you all for your interest, it means a lot!

@highstrung: I still think it would be a good solution for long-lived groups too.
Of course Duke Ellington and his Orchestra has a distinct identity and sound, but with 64 members, albums scattered between “Duke Ellington” albums and sound evolutions (from a big band with vocal jazz emphasis to dominant swing influences, gospel or even latin-jazz on Afro-Bossa), it would still be so much more readable on the Duke Ellington page.

@jesus2099: “it makes life easier and clearer linking the musicians” > not that much in fact because as backing bands, the line-ups are constantly changing and it’s rarely the same over two releases (which lead to interminable list of relationships on the “bands” pages).

@tigerman325: thanks a lot for your implication, cool to see some people agree with that!

@highstrung: and even for Robert Cray Band, it would be interesting to find a way to centralize the data. I am still rooting for a merge as you can guess haha but I imagine that we could have a halfway solution for these controversial cases.
Something like having “Robert Cray” (credited as Robert Cray) and “Robert Cray Band” (credited as “Band”) with a single space in the join phrase. This way it appears on both pages.
Or “Duke Ellington” and “Duke Ellington & His Orchestra” (credited as “His Orchestra”) with an ampersand in the join phrase.

–> But this solution should be considered as a patch and not a definitive solution though.

And once again the ticket is interesting but would not really solve the problem and is taking the issue backwards imo.

Just to be sure I understand what any of this ‘merging’ would pertain to:

It is only for the convenience of editors?
It will have no effect on how these album artists show up on the regular website?
It will not affect data that Picard will retrieve in any way?

I personally think merging artists and groups like this is a bad idea. You picked up on Miles Davis - what about Miles Davis All Stars? ( ) Are you saying that should only be filed under Miles Davis? That makes no sense as people like Charlie Parker and many other famous names are equally big in that group. The way the database currently works it has individual artists who can be members of a group.

I know there are some big Jazz editors who spend a lot of time over making sure the separate groups are correctly credited. I have talked to a few when editing Charlie Parker. They would certainly say no to this kind of merge.

MB should not remove this distinction. It works well as some groups can be pretty complex as to the overlapping members. This can be shown well with MB treating Artists and Groups as separate IDs.

I believe it is the job of your SensCritique database to find your own way to link these entities. I know I have my own methods in my copy of KODI that still allows me to find the separate entities or list a combination of Band and Artist.

I actually really like the way I can look at Groups and Artists and click between them. What more needs to be done is to fill in more of the members of a group - but this takes work by us editors which would then better help the other database users up the line like SensCritique and KODI.

The data should be left true to the reality of the data, and the database user then chooses how to display that data on their own applications.


I understand it doesn’t solve the problem for downstream data users, but can you elaborate how you see it taking things backwards?

Regarding the Ellington case, I’m thinking about how we would handle artists like Johnny Hodges and Harry Carney who were integral parts of the band for decades. Yes, relationships on individual releases/recordings convey some of that information, but not in a clear way.

re. the issues it causes for Sens Critique, isn’t there some way for SC to leverage the ‘eponymous member of’ relationships to merge artists in the display?

Otherwise really seems like the best way, as the issue seems to be a mismatch between the best way to store granular data and the best way to display data to users. That seems like it would best be solved by addressing the display, rather than changing the data model to suit inadequate display options.


@hiccup: for the convenience of editors, users and all of the websites that beneficiate from MB (and which MB beneficiates from, let’s not forget this) primarily of course.
To me, it will improve the way these artists appear on MB (and for now, no one mentioned a concrete bad side-effect or an eventual data loss).
As for Picard, I have no idea as I don’t know how it works, sorry.

@IvanDobsky: Miles Davis All Stars is actually a good example.
First it is considered as a Miles Davis album on Wikipedia. Then you can see on the same link that “All Stars” is more a marketing technique because “Walkin’” is actually the compilation of material recorded under “Miles David Sextet” on side one and “Miles Davis Quintet” on side two.
Another proof that having another page for this “band” is just confusing and misleading.

And Charlie Parker did not participate in any of the three biggest albums that were released under the name “Miles Davis All Stars”. So not equally big.
Before speaking in the big jazz editor’s place, I would gladly hear them on that matter.

Of course SensCritique could find its own solution and I would not be bothering you with that issue. But I’m doing this thread precisely because I am a MB editor too and that I strongly believe that issues that appear on databases linked to MB are symptomatic of improvements that could or should be made here.
Again, MB is and should remain independent, its strength is here. But please don’t ignore the purpose of a database and the fact that softwares, community websites and other DBs depends on MB and are legitimate to raise particular issues like this one.

Let’s also make the distinction between what we are used to and what would be best in terms of UX and DB management.

@highstrung: because the standard view should include all of Miles Davis’ albums, even under different names. And the split between the different entities should be optional (once again, by putting myself in unexperienced user and based on the numerous feedbacks we received). But I guess that could be the case with the feature?

For Johnny Hodges, that’s true but what would concretely change? Recordings and albums on which he played would still appear on his page. And another relationship like “supporting instrument for” Duke Ellington could easily be created.
Also Hodges, as major he was for the orchestra was not always part of it, notably between 1951 and 1955.

Hi @aerozol: thanks for your intervention! Like I wrote, we could manage it within SC, but I think that we could both win with an improvement.

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I’m having serious doubts on this.
Maybe because it’s not clear to me how it will affect the release pages on MusicBrainz, and how it will affect data retrieved from it.

Also it feels weird that somebody else than the original artist would decide in retrospective on who the (album) artist really was. Against what the artists themselves decided on.

Again, if the proposal has no effect on the releases website and on what Picard will retrieve, and it’s an added useful feature for editors, great.
It could also be useful as an added optional feature for the release pages and Picard.

Else, it seems like opening a can of worms to me.

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I think merging MB Artists is an incorrect workaround to creating a “complete view” of an artist. Why stop with eponymously named groups? If I wanted a “complete” view of an artist, I’d want it to include all groups (member-of), collaborations, different projects (performs-as), instrument relationships, vocal relationships, remix relationships, etc.

I think having dedicated Artist pages/IDs for established groups is preferable. I just fixed two of these:


Very true! I’ve now updated his relationships to reflect this. That’s an example where recording relationships don’t clearly show the details. You could browse though all his performer rels (2000+ of them!) and see that during that period, he didn’t record with Ellington but did record multiple sessions under his own name. From that, you could infer that he wasn’t a member of Ellington’s band during that period But it’s much more clearly stated by the member relationship(s).

Two counterpoints here. First, the “N-tet” is in many cases more a matter of counting than of artistic intent. The difference between the Joe Bloggs Quartet and the Joe Bloggs Quintet is often no more than the fact that one more musician got hired for a particular session.

Second, and somewhat related, is that how a record got billed has (at least historically) had more to do with the record company than the artist themselves. Take the Monk example I gave above - I guarantee you it was not Monk’s decision to release one album as a quartet and the other under only his name.

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That “complete” view could certainly be useful as well. But in jazz circles you will generally see a distinction between albums recorded “as a leader” - usually under their own name or as an eponymous group - as opposed to ones where they appear “as a sideman”.

As I understand it, the OP wants to delete any MBID for the quintets and replace them with the artist in the title of the quintet. Only using an Alias to link the quintet. This will make it much harder to locate those tracks of the quintet.

I still think this is wrong as it makes more sense for the applications to do the linking. In one of the example edits linked a KODI thread where someone wanted to put Roger Waters and Pink Floyd together. This makes sense to someone with only a few releases by those artists, but not to someone like me with hundreds of releases in those two names.

The ticket better allows the separate entities to exist alongside the ability to combine them.

(And I agree that Miles Davies All Stars is a lousy example as they are marketing things, but there are still members of some of those groups that would benefit from the ticket idea but not from flat merging everything with Miles Davies name in the title.)


@yindesu: let’s be honest and not compare regular bands and eponymous ones. Of course an album by the Miles Davis Quartet is part of Miles Davis’ discography. But a Led Zeppelin album should not appear on Robert Plant’s page for example.
[Highstrung’s message sums it up better]

@highstrung: I have to admit that this is a really strong argument against the merging.
Then, how about the midway solution where we have the two artists on the release and the RG with special aliases?

@IvanDobsky: if an alias works on an album, why couldn’t it work on a track?
Of course, if you think that the alias doesn’t work on the album neither, yeah my solution falls apart then haha

I understand your arguments and I get it that it would be really complicated to change such a massive guideline in one thread.
That’s why I’m going to insist on the second option that could allow both sides to coexist. With the two artists on the releases/RGs only, every album would appear on Miles Davis’ page, but Miles Davis Quintet would continue to exist and to centralize the works credited under this name. Recordings and relationships would not be affected.

I like the idea behind the “dual artist” approach, and to my thinking as a jazz fan, it would produce the result I am looking for. My biggest concern there would be the amount of work needed to convert existing releases/RGs, and the difficulty of getting editors to follow what sounds like a pretty non-intuitive practice.


The first thing I learned as a database manager was “Don’t think about the work to come and focus on the improvement” hahaha
If we include this rule in the guidelines and make sure that everyone here is on the same page, the word could spread fast. The issue would be resolved progressively but at least we will have a solution.

If the issue is just navigation, wouldn’t just adding something like this to the filter on artist pages be a hundred times better?

Showing official release groups by this artist:

  • Show release groups including eponymous groups
  • Show all release groups
  • Show all release groups including eponymous groups
  • Show official various artist release groups
  • Show all various artist release groups

I don’t think messing with artist credits should be necessary. As long as the artist entries have accurate relationships, it’s completely possible to use those.


That’s the approach envisioned in but as @Mapache_Del_Raton points out, it would not help consumers of MB data.

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Like @highstrung pointed it out, it may sound as just navigation for MB but I think it would benefit both MB and linked databases.
I believe (and the numerous feedbacks we receive seem to point that this is a general feeling) that it would be clearer to include all eponymous bands by default. Of course the ticket is interesting but once again, I feel like it’s more hiding the issue than fixing it.

I fear you may overestimate how thoroughly most editors read the guidelines, and underestimate how many contributors just want something that makes their tags look approximately correct.


When I read the thread and check the ‘likes’, I wouldn’t conclude there is much of a general feeling on this.