I Called Him Morgan
7th October 2016 9.00pm at Picturehouse Central
9th October 2016 1.00pm at Hackney Picturehouse
On Saturday 19th February 1972, Philadelphia-born trumpeter Lee Morgan was murdered at the mere age of 33 at Slug’s Saloon in New York City; the offence was committed by his lover Helen More following her discovery of an affair. Through I Called Him Morgan, Kasper Collin follows on from My Name Is Albert Ayler and creates a tribute to the life of another jazz musician whose career ended prematurely.
While I Called Him Morgan is indeed a film about Lee Morgan’s career, Collin sure decides to forgo some of the usual practices of documentary filmmaking. Setting forth with a voice-over intro and candidly interspersed with Morgan’s jazzy repertoire, it commences with Helen More’s disconcerting life story. This was made possible with the help of educator Larry Remi Thomas who managed to conduct a meeting with More weeks before her death. The main focus of the picture is Morgan’s relationship with More, and how it came to influence his work.
The talented jazz musician was a young and boisterous drug addict who, as told by his friends, found his saviour in More – a woman more than a decade his senior. It is agreed that her kind service nursing him back to health, and then her work as his manager helped attribute to his further musical success.
Certain traditions of documentaries are maintained as Collin makes sure to capture the memories of a variety of people on screen, such as their mutual friends, members of the bands that Morgan played with, and More’s son. Collin blends their respective stories, and it certainly is a worthy documentary.
The general feeling of I Called Him Morgan seems as placid as the snowy streets that prevented the ambulance to arrive promptly at the time of Morgan’s death. But it is guilty of being somewhat tame, aimed specifically at aficionados of music history and jazz.
I Called Him Morgan does not have a UK release date yet.
For further information about the 60th London Film Festival visit here.
Read more reviews from the festival here.