A Thousand Hours of Early Jazz Records Now Available Online

Shaunacy Ferro
David W. Niven via the Internet Archive
David W. Niven via the Internet Archive / David W. Niven via the Internet Archive

It’s easier than ever to indulge in a passion for old-school jazz. For instance, you can listen to 1000 hours of jazz recordings released from 1921 to 1991, thanks to a tireless record collector named David Niven. The David W. Niven Collection, first donated to a Massachusetts high school in 2010, has been digitally archived and can now be listened to on the Internet Archive, Kottke reports.

Niven listened to his first jazz record at 10 years old, when a older cousin played him a 1925 recording of a Louis Armstrong song. The music enthusiast says he spent the rest of his life accumulating an impressive collection. By the time he was in college, he had thousands of records. He gathered some of his best stuff on a collection of tapes—producing commentary narration and creating liner cards himself—starting sometime in the mid-1980s.

“This is an extraordinary collection,” digital archivist Kevin J. Powers writes on the Internet Archive. “It represents the very finest American music of the 20th century, and because Mr. Niven took the time and care to record these commentaries, he has produced a library that is accessible to everyone from jazz aficionados to jazz novices.”

You can browse it here

[h/t Kottke]