I was among those who helped to organize a group of academics, most Jewish and mostly liberal but not entirely, to oppose all academic boycotts and threats to freedom of discourse when it comes to discussions of the Middle East. We even oppose boycotts of people who like boycotts. Here is a short news story and here is the statement and list of those so far involved.
I saw no shows this week except the Allman Brothers Band, who were much improved from the previous weekend, I’m guessing, due to the presence of David Rudd in the audience.
As far as new stuff goes, I got two dual-film SD Blu-rays this week, Joni Mitchell’s Woman of Heart and Mind + Painting With Words and Music and Lou Reed’s Classic Albums: Transformer + Live At Montreux 2000. They have been re-issued in upscaled standard definition with uncompressed stereo and DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound. The Joni package is pretty great. The 1998 concert filmed on the Warner’s lot is relaxed and intimate and Joni is in particularly good humor. The documentary is just fine. The Lou Reed package is for Lou fanatics, I’m guessing. The documentary is entirely about Transformer. And the concert is largely devoted to his 2000 album Ecstasy, which is not a terribly significant Lou album. But if you miss him, it will make you feel better.
Also, just about out from Sony Legacy is Miles at the Fillmore—Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3, a four-CD box set recorded just two months after the release of Bitches Brew in April 1970. This is an expanded, remastered edition of the two-LP set Miles Davis At the Fillmore, which consisted of performances from the four nights of shows at the Fillmore East (where Miles opened for Laura Nyro). Now they’ve got 100-plus minutes of previously unreleased music all of it sounding better. The three additional bonus tracks add another thirty-five minutes of music, recorded in April 1970, at the Fillmore West where Miles was on the same bill as the Dead.
There’s a thirty-two-page booklet that accompanies the box set provides a context for Miles’ new sound, with an essay by Michael Cuscuna, who was a first-hand witness (as a disc jockey for WPLJ-FM.) The band is Chick Corea on electric piano, bassist Dave Holland, and drummer Jack DeJohnette (all of whom had been at the core of the Bitches Brew sessions recorded in August 1969), plus tenor and soprano saxophonist Steve Grossman, and percussionist, flutist and vocalist Airto Moreira, with Keith Jarrett on organ and tambourine at the Fillmore East. It’s an extraordinary document of a crazy time and some unique music making. But it’s also a matter of taste. I keep trying to stay for the ride, but I get off the bus after "Bitches’ Brew." Those who stayed with Miles to the end will love this thing.