Saturday Arts: More jazz than you can poke a (drum)stick at!

This week’s Saturday Arts post is an amazing treat for fans of Jazz and Swing – 650 tapes · 1,000 hours · 1,378 WAV files · 637 GB · 691 JPEG scans of cassette liner cards & literature.

David W Niven was a high school teacher from New Jersey – who compiled 650 cassette tapes of early jazz that he recorded throughout his lifetime.

The set spans more than 1000 hours and gives a fantastic insight into the development of jazz from 1921-1991.

As writes, at the site where they make this treasure trove available for free, the tracks – and accompanying notes, were “Meticulously Collected, Compiled, and Narrated by David W. Niven, 1930-1993. ”

retro-cassette-iconsMr Niven also wrote setlists and notes – and introduces the tracks in a remarkably restrained but strangely compelling ‘narration’ – As I write, I’m listening to some early Sinatra, recordings done when he was just starting out with Tommy Dorsey’s band.

As Mr Niven says in his notes, “The main reason for doing this rather major project was to put my collection into some kind of compendium form that would attract my children to the music that had been of such significance in my life”

I’m not one of his kids – but I’m grateful that he’s done it for all of us who are someone else’s kids …

If you have even a passing interest in American music from the 20s to the 50s, make sure you check this out – it’s well worth the download..

That’s the David W. Niven Collection of Early Jazz Legends, 1921-1991 … run, don’t walk to and feast your ears on this.


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