David W. Niven was a high school teacher from New Jersey. But his legacy will be the 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 through the years 1921-1991. Niven also wrote setlists and notes that come along with the collection on Archive.org, which you can download here.

Free music download – Get Niven’s amazing gift.

In order to create a complete copy of all of Mr. Niven’s liner cards, Kevin J. Powers, the archivist behind this amazing project scanned each card at 400 dpi resolution. The JPEG images that resulted are as legible as the original liner cards.

Each card lists artist, tape number, years, and tunes. Below the tunes is a key to the numbers next to each tune, which indicate the source recordings. For example “1 Cottontail” and “1: RCA Victor LP In A Mellotone” indicates that the recording of “Cottontail” is from RCA Victor LP “In a Mellotone.” After all, we all love some free music download sometimes.

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