Great performances; sub-bootleg quality
Charles Wilson | San Diego, CA USA | 11/01/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"First, the easy part: the performances on this DVD are great, and far exceeded my expectations (I'm not as familiar with Ra's 80s work as much as his earlier work).
However, the picture quality makes this DVD almost unwatchable. The East Berlin concerts look like 4th-generation VHS tapes were used as the source material. Why weren't the masters used? Moreover, this appears to have been pressed on a single-layer DVD. This means that the picture had to be compressed which results in an overwhelming amount of digital blurring/pixelation of the picture (at times it looks like you're watching it on an Atari 2600). There's no reason to charge $18 for what is essentially a $1.50 bootleg DVD. I sincerely hope that Transparency addresses these quality issues in future releases. Supposedly, they plan on releasing 35 hours of Sun Ra's work; it would be a shame if it was all as unwatchable as this release it.
As for the sound quality, it's serviceable. The instruments are distinct, and there isn't too much distortion. But again, was any attempt made by the producers to track down the masters for these concerts?"
Did you ever think you'd see this?
Bennett Theissen | Los Angeles | 11/30/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am simply amazed that this DVD exists, and that it is part of a series that will be coming out over the next couple years of an extraordinary archive of Ra video recordings. What I know is that these concerts are all official, not bootleg, and they come from Ra's own people. Yes, they do come from videotapes of the original European broadcasts and are not "master" videos, but they are what is available, and they do satisfy. We certainly have been spoiled by far less interesting videos of far less interesting artists in better quality over the last 20 years, but that doesn't make these shows worthless by any means. Ra video is so rare I've seen collectors go crazy over copies of their SNL appearance. These are full performances. The audio is clean and clear, and you can see what's going on. Besides, have you ever listened to original Saturn Research lp's sold at Ra shows? This is at least the equivalent of that.
What it comes down to is, if you're a Ra fan, you need this. And it's just the beginning!"
The Music Is Amazing
Tracy Caldwell | Los Angeles, CA USA | 06/01/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Only a real die hard Sun Ra fan will appreciate this video. True enough the visual quality is lacking, but a true lover of Sun Ra will sit and just enjoy the music. For me, this rare footage,is never seen before stuff for a younger jazzer like me. If you really dig Sun Ra, just sit back and listen!"