I Called Him Morgan

Guests Expected

Director Kasper Collin expected at April 6 and 7 screenings.


Discovered by Dizzy Gillespie and an MVP of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers ensemble, Lee Morgan was a key player in New York’s '60s "hard-bop" scene—a trumpeter with a beautifully supple, expressive sound, a dapper prodigy who had played with John Coltrane by his late teens and gained the admiration of his peers by his early twenties. It was inevitable he’d eventually cross paths with Helen More, a self-proclaimed "sharp" woman whose apartment on 53rd Street was a hospitable hot spot for hungry jazz musicians. She would help Morgan kick a drug habit, clean up, and stage a comeback. She would be by his side when he formed a quintet and recorded some of his most enduring records for Blue Note. She would become his common-law wife. And on February 19th, 1972, in between late-night sets at an East Village club, Helen would pull out a gun and shoot the 33-year-old band leader, killing the man she loved. Gathering together archival footage, stills, testimonials from legends like Wayne Shorter and Billy Harper, and a 1996 interview with Helen conducted a month before her death, Swedish documentarian Kasper Collin (My Name Is Albert Ayler, 2006) traces the duo’s individual histories and tries to unravel the mystery behind her impulsive act that fateful night. The movie also draws an incredible you-are-there portrait of the era’s after-hours jazz scene, from the hectic recording-studio sessions to the smoky Manhattan stages where these musical pioneers chased a sound. And most of all, it recounts a wild amour fou story, in which two mercurial people can’t live without each other and can’t help turning their romance into something like a Greek tragedy. —David Fear

Filmmaker Bio(s)

Kasper Collin is a Swedish filmmaker and TV veteran whose first feature film, My Name Is Albert Ayler (2006), established him as a keen observer of musicians, true crime, and the creative process. His second feature, I Called Him Morgan, has played the New York Film Festival and won the award for Best Local Film at the Philadelphia Film Festival.
Film Details
  • Country(ies): Sweden, USA
  • Language(s): English
  • Year: 2016
  • Running time: 91
  • Director(s): Kasper Collin
  • Producer(s): Kasper Collin
  • Cinematographer(s): Bradford Young, Erik Vallsten
  • Editor(s): Kasper Collin, Hanna Lejonqvist, Eva Hillström, Dino Jonsäter

Print Source:
197 Grand St. #6W
New York, NY 10013