March 14, 2016


1,000 Hours of Early Jazz Recordings Now Online: Archive Features Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington & Much More (Open Culture, March 8th, 2016)

David W. Niven spent his life amassing a vast record collection, all dedicated to the sounds of Early Jazz. As a kid during the 1920s, he started buying jazz records with money earned from his paper route. By World War II, Niven, now a college student, had thousands of LPs. "All the big names of jazz, along with lesser legends, were included," Niven later said, and "I found myself with a first class treasure of early jazz music." Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Duke Ellington, and much, much more.

For the sake of his children, Niven started transferring his record collection to cassette tapes during the 1980s and prefacing them with audio commentaries that offer background information on each recording. Now, years after his death (1991), his collection of "Early Jazz Legends" has made its way to the web, thanks to archivist Kevin J. Powers. If you head over to, you can stream/download digitized versions of 650 cassette tapes, featuring over 1,000 hours of early jazz music. There's also scans of liner cards for each recording.

Posted by at March 14, 2016 5:56 AM