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    Brian Rust, Father of Modern Discography, Dies at 88

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    Brian Rust, a discographic detective who compiled comprehensive guides to recorded jazz and other popular music, in the process setting the standard for the modern field, died on Jan. 5 in Swanage, in southern England. He was 88.

    The cause was complications of prostate cancer, said his son, Victor, who was named for the RCA Victor record label. (The elder Mr. Rust, according to family oral tradition, declined a friend’s suggestion that he name Victor’s twin sister Decca.)

    Often described as the father of contemporary discography, Mr. Rust embarked in the 1940s on a rigorous, deeply personal project that continued long afterward as he haunted archives and hunted down artists to reconstitute long-vanished recording sessions on paper.

    He was best known for “Jazz Records,” first published in 1952 and reissued many times since. It is currently available in a two-volume, 1,971-page version titled “Jazz and Ragtime Records, 1897-1942” (Mainspring Press, 2002), edited by Malcolm Shaw.


    For decades, “Jazz Records” — known to jazz mavens simply as “J. R.” — has been the de facto standard reference work in the field, furnishing meticulous information on session dates, personnel and much else for tens of thousands of recordings.

    In addition to his son, Victor, Mr. Rust is survived by his wife, the former Mary Denning; two daughters, Angela Kidd and Pamela Jackson-Cooke, (who escaped being named Decca); three grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

    He is also survived by Brian, a discographic software program named for him. “Which is ironic,” Mr. Brooks said in an interview, “because he himself hated computers and never used them.”

    To read the full artcle visit THE NEW YORK TIMES.

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