A previously unreleased live album by the peerless Ella Fitzgerald, Ella At Zardi's features the whole of the First Lady of Song's two-set, 21-song performance, and finds her in sparkling form, backed by a distinguished trio featuring pianist Don Abney, bassist Vernon Alley and drummer Frank Capp. Ella At Zardi's arrives more than 60 years after the performance was originally recorded on February 2, 1956 at Zardi's Jazzland in Hollywood.
The Zardi's concert was recorded by Norman Granz to celebrate the creation of, and Fitzgerald's signing to, Verve Records. He founded the label largely to give Fitzgerald the attention he felt she'd been missing at Decca. Ella At Zardi's was planned as the label's inaugural release but shelved in favor of the studio album that became a classic in its place, Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Cole Porter Song Book, the first in her celebrated series of "Songbook" releases.
"We can hear a fluid and joyous singer who operates with almost giddy authority," says longtime jazz journalist Kirk Silsbee in the album's sleeve notes. "Ella manages to find a way of swinging almost every number, no matter the tempo. She anticipates her studio songbook albums with Duke Ellington's ‘In A Mellow Tone,' Cole Porter's ‘My Heart Belongs To Daddy,' the Gershwins' ‘S'Wonderful' and ‘I've Got a Crush On You,' and Jerome Kern's ‘A Fine Romance.'"