February 12, 2016

Fascinating Digital Archive

Saving the world through data storage: there are some amazing things to keep.

David W. Niven (not the British actor, a High School teacher with a Jersey accent) recorded 650 Cassette tapes of great jazz artists, together with his own commentary on the history of the tracks and artist, when each was recorded, and which musicians appeared. The 1000+ hours, and scans of his setlists and notes ae available on Archive.org: The David W. Niven Collection of Early Jazz Legends, 1921-1991

This is an extraordinary collection. It has been Mr. Niven's life's work. It represents the very finest American music of the twentieth 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. This is all made even more remarkable by the fact that, had Mr. Niven not had the foresight to contact Steve Massey in 2010, this entire collection may have disappeared. How many collections of jazz like this get junked after estate sales every year? Thank you, David--your devotion to jazz will enrich the musical education of hundreds of students!

I take the archivist's point that too many great resources are lost, yet I doubt that there are too many this large and comprehensive.

Technology Posted by John Kranz at February 12, 2016 11:41 AM

I have been listening to these all day.

Like the truthful claim that the smartphone in your pocket includes thousands of dollars of goods for free, anyone with an internet connection has access to this guy's collection spanning thousands of LPs and rare tapes. Niven probably spent 90% of his schoolteacher's salary on records. You can just click.

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2016 5:55 PM

Check out Django Reinhardt's 'Exactly Like You' at 20:00- https://archive.org/details/Django_Reinhardt_Tape_1_1935-1937

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2016 6:56 PM | What do you think? [2]