SUN RA: French Television;, East Berlin; West Berlin
1. A great, but short, early film (1970) from the first Ra tour in Europe with a huge band. They play 'Enlightment'. 2. Next up is a complete Arkestra concert from 1986 in East Berlin, filmed for television with multiple cameras. This is a classic '70s type programme divided by DDR TV into two parts; the first has everything: searing performances all round, electronic keyboard solos, a lot of Ra playing a very good piano extraordinarily well, plenty of action and abstraction, overlapping fragments of music; oboes, bassoons, flutes, and complete focus. The second part rips through some scarily fast big-band material, a stride piano extravaganza, a handful of great Ra compositions, winding up at 'Space is the place' and the planets chant. The screaming encore has some slightly dissonant moments where a couple of the younger draftees lose the plot, but this is a detail. A classic concert and worth the whole DVD. Last up is an 'Arkestra All Stars' concert from 3 years earlier in West Berlin, this one in colour. Added to the band are Lester Bowie, Don Cherry, Archie Shepp, Don Moye and Philly Joe Jones. It's a good show, but you can tell the Arkestra members from the guests (the comparison is educational). Drummer Clifford Jarvis plays a great solo - and duet with Don Cherry. Information consists of three poems by Ra. If you want only one of these DVDs, buy this one. 153 Minutes.