Wolfgang's Vault is a website that claims to offer 'the world's largest collection of live music recordings and memorabilia' (although if you take out the word 'memorabilia' I suspect that distinction belongs to the Live Music Archive - www.archive.org - of which more in a moment). Although the site is perhaps of most interest to fans of 'classic rock', it also has much to offer those whose interests relate more to jazz, blues and other genres. 'Wolfgang' was the childhood nickname of concert promoter Bill Graham, who was born in Germany to a Jewish family in 1931. His mother died in Auschwitz, but Wolodia Grajonca, as he was originally named, was helped to escape from the orphanage he was in to a foster home in New York. Distressed at being called 'a Nazi', because of his German accent and foreign-sounding name, he decided to jettison both. Entrepreneurially inclined and a sincere music lover, Graham found his vocation and made his fortune as a concert promoter in San Francisco in the 1960s. He was strongly associated with the Grateful Dead, Santana and other west coast bands, but staged concerts for all the major rock names of the era. He liked to put artists from less exposed areas of music on the same bills as his famous headliners, which is one reason Miles Davis was able to connect with the rock audience that bought Bitches Brew. Graham also helped introduce influential blues artists such as Muddy Waters and B.B. King to young audiences. He liked to record his concerts, and the tapes were stored along with a huge collection of rock memorabilia in the basement of his office building. After his death in 1991, the collection changed hands several times, but was acquired in 2003 for US$5 million by another entrepreneur named Bill Sagan, who set about digitising the tapes and making them available for streaming from a site named in Graham's honour. Sagan believed Graham's original contracts with the artists gave him free rein to do as he pleased with the audio material. Not surprisingly, some of the artists disagreed. Santana and surviving members of the Doors, the Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin all sued, arriving at out-of-court settlements with Wolfgang's Vault last year. It's not clear all issues pertaining to the use of the recordings have been settled, but concert recordings are still available on the site. Plans for CD and DVD releases of the most commercially viable material do not seem to have borne fruit, but last week Geffen Records issued a Muddy Waters CD of music from the Vault titled Authorised Bootleg: Live at the Fillmore. Whatever the legal issues, for the moment Wolfgang's Vault offers some fascinating performances by blues and jazz artists - some from the original Graham collection, others from other archives - as free streams or as paid (and in some cases free) downloads. They include B.B. King, Miles Davis, Bo Diddley, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Gil Scott-Heron, Hugh Masekela, Taj Mahal, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. At present the Live Music Archive comprises 2,251 concerts, of which 287 are available for download, no fewer than 24 of them by the Mahavishnu Orchestra, which is perhaps as many as most people are ever likely to need. The archive is worth a browse, as is the concert collection, in which the Mahavishnu Orchestra are resoundingly trumped by the Grateful Dead with a mind-blowing - or numbing - 6,549 shows. You'll also find 732 shows by the Derek Trucks Band, 265 by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, 195 by Little Feat, 172 by Charlie Hunter and 48 by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, along with much else. All the content is free.