Every year for my birthday gift to myself I would seek out a show to see: The Doors, Quicksilver,Traffic, Geils, are a few but 1974 I was definitely thinking outside the box as my request was to see ELLA FITZGERALD at Philharmonic Hall in NYC. It was a cold Friday night, and colder since I was working in a bank and taking the night off was a sin in those days. But screw them anyway as my boss was a jerk and in a few weeks time, just before I would almost punch him out, I quit.
So it is January 18,1974 and we attend ELLA FITZGERALD@ Philharmonic a great birthday show for me,simply a great show. Dressed to the nines,we sat amongst folks a lot older than us (22) and when the FIRST LADY OF SCAT was introduced I was one of many who gave her an immediate standing ovation. The older gent behind me said “ SIT DOWN, SONNY” to which I replied in a nice way “ FUCK OFF ASSHOLE”. He didn’t bother me again.I hate being called “Sonny”.
NYT: January 21, 1974:
Ella Fitzgerald had quite an evening Friday at Avery Fisher Hall. She was greeted by an audience that filled both the hall and all available Space on the stage. When her drummer was delayed getting to the hall, an emergency call went out for a substitute, and she wound up with two drummers. And, to cap the affair, she was given the Lincoln Center Medallion, the first pop singer and the first woman to receive the award, which had previously been bestowed on Dmitri Shostakovich and Andres Segovia.
To go with all this, Miss Fitzgerald delivered one of those easy‐going unpretentious song programs that have been pleasing her audiences for the last 20 years. As usual, she was far better on relatively slow, well‐structured ballads than when she was skimming the surface of fast tunes. “The Man I Love,” an old standby, and a recent addition to her repertory, Norris Turney’s charming tribute to Johnny Hodges, “Checkered Hat,” brought out her most expressive singing. Her regular quartet, led by Tommy Flanagan, was joined on several numbers by Roy Eldridge on trumpet, Eddie (Lockjaw) Davis on tenor saxophone and Freddie Waits, substitute drummer.