Short-lived eponymous groups

Several months ago there was a discussion around handling of eponymous groups. There were valid objections raised to the idea of merging eponymous groups with their leader, and I’m not intending to reopen that question in full (sorry, @Mapache_Del_Raton).

I would however like to propose an exception for short-lived groups. These often just represent the configuration of a specific studio session; the producer booked seven musicians to back the hypothetical Joe Cool on one date, so the results get released as the Joe Cool Octet. (If the trumpeter called in sick, it might’ve been the Joe Cool Septet…)

In some cases, the names on the label are not distinct groups at all - an extreme example comes from one J.J. Johnson recording session where four tracks were recorded, all on the same day and with the same personnel, and released under three different names. (They’re the first four tracks on this compilation, which also includes four tracks released as “Jay Jay Johnson’s Bop Quintet”, the only output of that particular “group”.)

In practice there is a mix of how these have been handled. The JJ Johnson groups have been created as separate artists; others, like Charles Mingus’ “Baron Mingus and his Octet” are treated as ACs of the leader.

Ideally, I’d like to see the AC approach noted as a viable option in the guidelines. Something like “For short-lived eponymous groups, it’s acceptable to list recordings and releases under the leader’s name, using the credited-as feature for the group name, rather than creating a separate artist.”

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I haven’t read the other discussion.

But, yes, I have done that. Add the name of the group to the alias list. Add the credit to the man using ‘credited as’.
We can always come back and create a group later. It is one of the nice things about having editable data.

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I hate to be a pill, but you know darn well that 50 years later, some compilation (or streaming service) is going to credit the recording as just Joe Cool, and will neglect the octet.

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They do that already. Many compilations are released under the leader’s name, and only a few (like the Chronological Classics series linked above) reference the original as-released band names. This J.J. Johnson compilation is a common example that contains some of the same tracks as the Chronological Classics release but with no reference to the groups.

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Some more examples:

The Thelonious Monk Quartet was Monk’s main touring group for most of his career. There are musicians who were members of the group, notable Charlie Rouse (saxophonist for the group for almost a decade) and John Coltrane (for a short but significant period). I would not propose to change this group.

The Thelonious Monk Sextet, is one of these non-groups. The name is used for the output of two recording sessions, five years apart, which feature no musicians in common other than Monk himself. This is one I would propose to treat as an AC instead of a separate artist.

Likewise the Thelonious Monk Septet, a group assembled solely for the Monk’s Music session on June 26, 1957. Other than that one day in the studio this “group” never played together, and in fact may not have ever all been in the same room together. It is strange to refer to someone as a member of a group when in fact they were a side musician hired for a single recording date.

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This is a great thread, I agree with every word, and make many funky edits here to get my stuff to present and sort the way I want it, which is usually after extensive research. I read all the bios, look up all the session info, retrieve the copyright info from the US Copyright Office, and essentially, examine the original record release(s). Whatever I do, I want it to be right, and it’s only fair to back up your claims.

Have you or are you making a ticket for this? Or are you still fleshing it out?

I have now: https://tickets.metabrainz.org/browse/STYLE-2000 , feedback welcome.