Swedish film maker Kasper Collin's acclaimed documentary about the star-crossed relationship between jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan and his common law wife Helen is screened in London this week.
Morgan was one of the most feted jazz musicians of the 1950s and 60s, recording extensively for the Blue Note label, but his life and career were blighted by drug addiction. He was shot dead by Helen in Slug’s Saloon in Manhattan, New York, in 1972, and I Called Him Morgan is a moving portrait of the couple's complex relationship leading up to that event.
Reviewing the film in The Wire 394, Derek Walmsley wrote: "There are many sad endings to the stories of musicians on Blue Note Records, but few are as shocking as Lee Morgan’s. Yet I Called Him Morgan, which centres on the second wind the trumpeter got from his partner after spiralling into heroin addiction in the mid- 1960s, carries an aura not of death but rebirth. By giving voice to collaborators and associates from across Morgan’s career, it transcends the tidy narrative arcs and tragic cliches of many jazz biopics, and has the unmistakable feeling of joyful lives lived to the full."
I Called Him Morgan screens at London Picturehouse Central on 26 and 31 July, and at London Bertha Dochouse on 28 July. NB The Wire will not be hosting the Q&A with Kasper Collin at the 26 July screening, as previously announced.