I Called Him Morgan

About the Film

On a snowy night in February 1972, the 33-year-old jazz trumpet star Lee Morgan was shot dead by his common-law wife, Helen, during a gig at a club in New York City. The murder sent shockwaves through the jazz community, and the memory of the event still haunts the people who knew the Morgans. Helen served time for the crime and, following her release, retreated into obscurity. Over 20 years later, a chance encounter led her to give a remarkable interview. Helen’s revealing audio “testimony” acts as a refrain throughout the film, which draws together a wealth of archival photographs and footage, notable talking heads and incredible jazz music to tell the ill-fated pair’s story.

Part true-crime tale, part love story, and an all-out musical treat, I Called Him Morgan is a stirring tribute to two unique personalities and the music that brought them together. A film by Swedish filmmaker Kasper Collin (My Name Is Albert Ayler). Featuring cinematography by Oscar-nominated DoP Bradford Young (Selma, Arrival).

I Called Him Morgan premiered on September 1, 2016 in the official selection at the 73rd Venice Film Festival and went on to play Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival and BFI London Film Festival.

There will also be a post-film discussion with the film's director, Kasper Collin (via Skype), Larry Reni Thomas, and Ashley Kahn.

Photograph of Lee and Helen Morgan in 1970 courtesy of the Afro-American Newspaper Archives and Research Center

92 Minutes
Director, Producer, Writer: Kasper Collin
Cinematography: Bradford Young, Erik Vallsten
Music: Lee Morgan and others
Editing: Hanna Lejonqvist, Eva Hillström, Dino Jonsäter, Kasper Collin
Sound: Jan Alvermark, Mario Adamson
Executive producers: Ron Mann, Nicole Stott, Dan Braun
Co-producers: Emelie Persson (SVT), Ami Ekström (Film Väst)
Sales agent: Submarine Entertainment

Larry Reni Thomas – Writer and teacher for adult students
Wayne Shorter – Saxophonist and composer
Paul West – Bass player in Dizzy Gillespie’s Orchestra, manager of Jazzmobile workshop
Charli Persip – Drummer in Dizzy Gillespie’s Orchestra
Albert “Tootie” Heath – Drummer
Ron St. Clair – Neighbor and friend
Larry Ridley – Bass player
Jymie Merritt – Bass player and composer
Al Harrison – Helen Morgan’s son
Lena Sherrod – Girlfriend of Lee Morgan
Bennie Maupin – Saxophonist and composer
Jerry Schultz – Owner of Slug’s Saloon
Judith Johnson – Friend of Lee Morgan
Billy Harper – Saxophonist and composer

I Called Him Morgan