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Lee Morgan Biopic Comes To New York & London

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I Called Him Morgan, the new documentary about jazz trumpet great Lee Morgan by Swedish director Kasper Collin, is being shown today (2) at the New York Film Festival. On Friday (7), it will be exhibited at the London Film Festival. The screenings follow its debut at the Venice festival on 1 September.

LeeMorganThe hard bop trumpeter is widely known for his 1963 instrumental ‘The Sidewinder,’ among an extensive body of work in his own name for Blue Note. As a young man, Morgan also played on John Coltrane‘s Blue Train in 1957 and as a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.

The film, written, directed and produced by Collin, portrays Morgan’s life and tragic death at the age of only 33. He was shot by his common-law wife Helen after an altercation at a gig with his band at Slug’s Saloon in New York, and subsequently bled to death when emergency services were prevented from attending the scene quickly due to bad weather conditions.

Despite those circumstances, Collin describes the film as “a love letter to two unique personalities and the music that brought them together.” The director, who previously made My Name is Albert Ayler about the jazz saxophonist, created the new film over a period of seven years.


4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Bill Benjamin

    October 14, 2016 at 4:36 am

    I was fortunate to hear Lee live in Chicago in 1971 just before his death. He worked for Joe Segal during the time when Joe was running his Jazz Showcase productions out of the IWW hall on north Lincoln Avenue. The band was Lee, Billy Harper, Harold Mabern, Jymie Merritt and Mickey Roker. The band just killed me.

    • RT Makins

      January 2, 2017 at 2:43 am

      Was that when Joe Segal had the Jazz Showcase on the 2nd floor above the Vibes rock & roll lounge on N. Lincoln Av? I heard Art Blakey there and the amplified rock band downstairs was annoying as hell, the noise interfered with Blakey’s band, but he soldiered through the set anyway. I saw Yusef Lateef there also. Fortunately, Jazz Showcase didn’t stay there long. That place was a pretty lousy venue. Unfortunately, I never did get to hear Lee Morgan, he was a favorite of mine that I had planned on hearing. I remember first hearing of his death on WBEE Chicago jazz radio, on the way to work. It was on the Marty Faye show. After hearing that, I knew I forever lost my chance of hearing him live.

  2. Musawir Karim

    December 19, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    Lee Morgan is/was fantastic! any piece he played, he literally slayed! Miles is celebrated, Donald Byrd, Freddy Hubbard, Terrance Blanchard, and others all good, but my man Lee is/was the shit! Ceora is my favorite ballad over all musical compositions. I can’t get to NY to see production, but I can’t wait for it to hit on You Tube or become available on DVD. His tragic death at 33 well….what can I say? My father was slain at 33, not by a woman, but over a woman in his nightclub. Very similar circumstances. Lastly, I applaud those responsible for this important production! Art is alive and well in America!

  3. Okeyo Jumal

    May 4, 2019 at 2:36 am

    Saw the preview, “They Called Him Mr. Morgan” in L.A. (Pasadena) in 2018. Powerful Biopic!! His horn will leave you glued to your seat at the end!!

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