Rising Tones Cross

FilmPals DVD 01


This 2 hour 16 mm film is a documentary composition of new jazz, New York as the city that generates it, and the musicians playing it. The thoughts of the saxophonist CHARLES GAYLE and the bass players WILLIAM PARKER and PETER KOWALD from Germany accompany the film.

It was shown on German and Swiss public television and has been screened at film-and jazz events around the globe ever since....

RISING TONES CROSS is a nostalgia piece for some, a valuable historical document for others... The film is romantic. There is a certain appeal and charme to images of a dirtier, grittier New York. The scene, always the scene, seemed to be more vibrant and the musicians less weighed down. And the music is wonderful, compelling stuff even for people jaded about improvised music. Rising Tones Cross provides some continuity, showing how jazz survived when pop and rap and heavy metal began to fully take over the public consciousness.
Andrey Henkin in
All About Jazz - NY>>      



Charles Gayle - tenor saxophone
Marilyn Crispell - piano
Rashied Ali - drums
Peter Kowald  -  double bass

Harvest Green

John Betsch - drums
Charles Gayle - tenor saxophone
Peter Kowald - double bass

Sunday Afternoon at Life Cafe

John Zorn - reeds
Wayne Horvitz - keyboards

Music For The Love Of It

Kim Clarke - bass
Wayne Horvitz - keyboards
Oscar Sanders - guitar
Bobby Previte - drums
Billy Bang - violin

A Thousand Cranes Opera

Wayne Horvitz - piano
Ricardo Strobert - alto sax, flute
Masahiko Kono - trombone
Denis Charles - drums
William Parker - double bass
Lisa Sokolov - voice
Jeanne Lee - voice
Ellen Christi - voice
Patricia Nicholson Parker - dance
Maria Mitchell - dance
Carol Penn Muhammed - dance
Frank Boyer - dance
Keith Dames - dance
A.R. Penck - stage design

Life Can Be Whatsoever

Roy Campbell Jr. - trumpet
Curtis Clark - piano
Wilber Morris - double bass
John Betsch - drums

Kangaroo Hoopie

Don Cherry - conductor, piano
Maria Mitchell - dance
Peter Brötzmann - tenor sax
Rüdiger Carl - tenor sax
Daniel Carter - alto sax
Denis Charles - drums
Ellen Christi - voice
Peter Kowald - double bass
Wilber Morris - double bass
Felice Rosser - electric bass

In Walked Monk

Roy Campbell Jr. - trumpet
Ellen Christi - voice
Rahn Burton - piano
William Parker - double bass
Rashied Ali - drums
Jemeel Moondoc - alto sax

For Julian Beck

Irène Schweizer - piano
Rüdiger Carl - tenor sax


Peter Brötzmann - tenor sax
David  S. Ware - tenor sax
Frank Wright - tenor sax
Charles Gayle - tenor sax
Jemeel Moondoc - alto sax
Roy Campbell Jr. - trumpet
Masahiko Kono - trombone
Irène Schweizer - piano
Peter Kowald - double bass
William Parker - double bass
Rashied Ali - drums

RISING TONES CROSS was funded by
NRW Filmbüro and DFFB, Berlin 1984

Original Concert Recordings by
Jost Gebers

Production / Cinematography / Director
Ebba Jahn

All rights reserved © 1984/2012 by
Ebba Jahn

Eye of Sound: Perhaps it's difficult to believe, but most of the artists listed above were once striving for recognition in the jazz scene and fighting for sheer survival. Ebba Jahn's Rising Tone Cross captures a moment when these artists were just starting to create a "scene", when their sparkling creativity was not yet comforted by certainty and success. More interestingly, perhaps, the film deals with issues of class and race and with the differences between the social contexts of improvised music in Europe and America. What really distinguishes this from other "jazz films", however, is the visual and narrative focus on New York as the metaphorical force behind the musician's creative burst, portraying it as a dirty, poor, rough and lively city not yet tamed by shinny images of  success and bourgeois comfort.

The Wire: Ebba Jahn’s remarkable film Rising Tones Cross, a two hour document of New York jazz, filmed in 1984 but looking so ramshackle and magnificently unreconstructed as to resemble a down at heel scene from a good decade earlier’ – The Wire (reviewing Le Weekend Festival 2008).

Rising Tones Cross is an intelligent documentary illuminating New York's avant-jazz scene in the early-1980's. This jazz film explores complex improvisation through live performances and exclusive interviews. The film features a candid glimpse of John Zorn and Wayne Horvitz performing on a "Sunday Afternoon At Life Cafe". In addition, Charles Gayle discusses the introspective considerations on musical influences, and Peter Kowald analyses personal performance versus the conceptual values of the avant-garde. Discussion is developed on the racial dynamics between black and white musicians in the new music scene. Important conclusions are also reached on how culturally insignificant jazz music is and whether avant-garde music can be a platform for people's consciousness. Rising Tones Cross celebrates it's 20th Anniversary by being re-released on DVD from filmmaker Ebba Jahn.

Duck Baker, Coda Magazine:

...Musically and visually is interest here, but in a way, the best thing of all is the mere fact that it shows contemporary artists in their natural habitat, on the streets, in performance lofts, or in their apartments, speaking their own words and just being themselves. There just hasn't been much documentation of Bohemia as it really is, and this film rings true on that score and on many others.


a Jazz Film by Ebba Jahn

Reviews since Rerelease:

< The Eye of Sound, May 2010

< The Wire UK, August 2008
< From Auckland New Zealand, April 2008
Zeit-Online by Maxi Sickert, June 06
Hamburger Abendblatt by Holger True
the wire UK
double bass 
All About Jazz-NY  Andrey Henkin 
Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter 3/25/05 
CODA Magazine CANADA March/April 2000 
Jazz Weekly, Spring 2000 
Jazz Special - DENMARK August/September 1999 
Cadence  - USA October 1999 
JAZZIZ - USA July 1999
Festivals & Screenings since Rerelease:

Lokal Harmonie eLisbu
25. Januar 2015 
Harmonietsrasse  45
47119 Duisburg Ruhrort

New Paths Festival
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
April 27, 2014
at The International House

Suoni Per il Popolo
Montreal, Canada
June 8, 2012 
at Videographe
Halle, Germany 
LUX.KINO am Zoo  
February 06, 2012
February 07, 2012

Jazzfestival Coimbra
Wien,  Österreich 
Porgy & Bess
Dublin Electronic Arts Festival
October 23-28, 2008 

Le Weekend Music Festival
Stirling, Scotland,UK 
May 23 - 25, 2008

Festival director Alasdair Campbell:
"The festival was the most successful yet and we have had 11. This  lovely film went down well with the audience actually clapping solos etc." 

Germany,  Dortmund 2007
IFFF- Intl. Filmfestival Femme Totale
in domicil
April 22, 2007

Berlin, Germany June 2-5,2006
Avantgarde Jazz in Film, Art, Live Concerts
Akademie der Künste
curated & co-directed by Ebba Jahn  

Italy, Milano April
Spazio Oberdan
via Vittorio Veneto 2
20 min. film excerpt  with William Parker 
on the occasion of his concert in Milano.
Zürich, Switzerland, Nov. 3, 2006
Hochschule für Gestaltung HGKZ  
My class 'Jazz On Film'
Hannover, Germany, Sept. 8 
Jazzmusikerinitiative jmi
Kino im Sprengel

Austin, Texas 
EFCA MUSIC presents at
Green Muse Coffee Shop: 
live concert & film
New York City April 3, 2005
DVD Release  Party with 
Roy Campbell, John Betsch, Maria Mitchell
Downtown Music Gallery
Sells DVD + CDs of all featured musicians

Wuppertal, Germany
Die Boerse June 11
live concert and film
ort film-talk, June 12
New York City June 12
10th Vision Festiival
Celebration Film Series at
Anthology Film Archives  
Delft, Netherlands
live concert, film and talk

Münster, Germany
Filmwerkstatt, Horst Herz Masterclass
November 16

Dortmund, Germany
University of the Arts (FH)
screening, lecture & discussion 
with film students
Tarcento, UD,  Italy
19 Marzo/2 Aprile
live concert & film

Bard College 
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 
February 26/27/2005
Black Students Club Show

Blicke aus dem Ruhrgebiet
Bochum, Germany
Filmfestival 11/2004 

Free Jazz & Film Festival 
Belgium 2004

Popcorn 2003 
Music-Film Festival 
Stockholm, Sweden 2003

Kentucky,  USA 2003

Wellington Jazzfestival
New Zealand 2002

6th Vision Festival 
New York 2001


DVD 5 specifications: 
NTSC/Pal  all-regions (RC 0) 
MPEG Audio  4.3 GB
Length: 111 minutes

Extra: Music tracks menue




                                                                         © Ebba Jahn  2014                                        info@EbbaJahn.com

Freddy, Moers 2/2010:

Meine Frau und ich haben Deinen Film in Bochum Langendreer gesehen.                >

Du warst auch selbst anwesend. Nach 5 Jahren habe ich mir ihn nun gekauft und mir noch mal angesehen. Ich möchte Dir ganz persönlich gratulieren zu diesem Superwerk. Davon abgesehen, dass ich selber Free Jazz Musiker bin und ein großer Fan von Charles Gayle und den in diesem Film vorkommenden Musikern, hat Dein Film soviel Atmosphäre, dass es gut ist, dass Du ihn produziert hast. Vielen Dank. Mit  lieben jazzigen Grüßen Freddy

Want to invite
to your
or order a signed copy for € 25


Charles Gayle in RISING TONES CROSS, 1984

#75 Vera, Österreich 3/2012

Ich halte den Film nicht nur für ein historisches Dokument, sondern finde ihn auch auf Grund seiner Vielschichtigkeit und seines Einlassens auf das Musikalische hoch interessant, spannend, weil er sowohl das Individuelle wie das Soziale, Kunst wie das Soziologische in den Blick nimmt."

#76 Heinz, Köln 3/2012

Ich habe mitte der 80-er „rising tones cross“ im kino gesehen und fand den film superklasse... Nun bin ich bei einer aufräumaktion auf das filmplakat gestoßen, das lange zeit in meinen vergangenen wohnungen gehangen hat... und suchte nun die dvd im www... das (aufgezogene) plakat wird demnächst auch wieder hängen. Als mein sohn es beim aufräumen sah, war er sofort angefixt, werde es ihm bringen, er will es bei sich aufhängen!!

#74 Markus, Heidelberg Umgebung 3/2012

...du hast eine ganze Reihe meiner heiss verehrten Musiker portraitiert!

Selbst spiele ich altsax und bin erst recht zufällig kürzlich auf Jemeel Moondoc gestoßen, über seine neu erschienene 3-CD-Box, jetzt ist er mein großes Idol (auch wenn mir bewusst ist, dass gerade auf dem Gebiet die übliche Fan-Anhängerschaft nicht "funktionieren" kann ...)

keep swingin'.


Farewell 1st Edition DVD Count Down
Buyer's  Notes:

#77 Georges, Luxembourg  2-3/2012
...I am watching your film regularly
the musicians speak so naturally, so openly, as if there were no camera
are you filming yourself while they speak to you?


die bilder fliessen wie Musik...
they are bubbles charged with emotion, humanity, soul, dedication.
the film gives you calm and energy and joy and makes you feel there are things worth living for and people you should meet and...