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Burns Rules Billboard

In a whopping takeover of the jazz charts, the various Ken Burns Jazz CDs have taken over the Soundscan album sales chart. For the week ending Feb. 11, 24 of the top 40 jazz albums are part of the series issued by Verve and Columbia. The five-CD box set placed No. 3, while the single CD condensed version is atop the chart, selling approximately 10,000 units. The Armstrong, Ellington, Coltrane, and Holiday discs are also in the top 10. Only three CDs — new releases by Diana Krall, John Scofield and Jimmy Smith — in the top 20 are not reissued material. Although the Burns series is hogging the charts and keeping new releases off the charts, there’s no proof that these CDs are taking away sales from new recordings. Steve Graybow, the jazz chart manager at Billboard, thinks the PBS series is “Driving people to the jazz department, rather than taking away from the sales [of new recordings].”

Originally Published