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Ella Fitzgerald’s 1956 Recording ‘Ella at Zardi’s’ Hits No. 1 on Jazz Albums Chart

62 years after its original recording at the now-defunct Zardi's Jazzland in Los Angeles, Ella Fitzgerald's Ella at Zardi's re-enters both the Jazz Albums and Traditional Jazz Albums charts at No. 1.

Sixty-two years after its original recording at the now-defunct Zardi’s Jazzland in Los Angeles, Ella Fitzgerald’s Ella at Zardi’s re-enters both the Jazz Albums and Traditional Jazz Albums charts at No. 1.

The live album — which was released Dec. 1 on CD/digital via Verve Records — sold a little under 2,000 copies in the week ending April 26, according to Nielsen Music. The album bests its previous No. 11 peak on Jazz Albums and No. 8 on Traditional Jazz Albums.

The re-entry was sparked by a Record Store Day-exclusive double-vinyl edition of the set on April 21. Essentially all of its sales in the latest tracking week came from the vinyl album, pressed on pink and blue opaque LPs. The release was limited to just 1,500 copies, and the run effectively sold out on Record Store Day.


The 21-track album features two of Fitzgerald’s sets from February 2, 1956, at Zardi’s in Hollywood. The album features a live version of one of Fitzgerald’s three Billboard Hot 100 entries, “How High the Moon,” which reached No. 76 in September 1960. Five days after her performance at Zardi’s, she began recording her legendary debut album Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Song Book, which was inducted into the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in 2003.

Ella at Zardi’s earns Fitzgerald her first No. 1 on the 24-year-old Jazz Albums chart, after landing 30 additional entries. It’s her second No. 1 on the 51-year-old Traditional Jazz Albums tally, following 1988’s Ella In Rome: The Birthday Concert, which spent five weeks atop the chart.

Fitzgerald holds the record for most entries on the Jazz Albums chart among women. Miles Davis holds the overall record, with 64 entries.

Most Total Entries on the Jazz Albums Chart
Miles Davis, 64
Frank Sinatra, 40
Bill Frisell, 34
John Coltrane, 32
Ella Fitzgerald, 31
Keith Jarrett, 29

The Jazz Albums chart ranks the top selling contemporary and traditional jazz albums of the week in the U.S. Those two sub-categories of jazz are also represented, respectively, on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Albums and Traditional Jazz Albums charts. The former launched in 1987, while the latter list started in 1967.