I Called Him Morgan from documentarian Kaspar Collin manages to walk that fine line between true crime tale and music doc as it chronicles the life and rise in the jazz world of Lee Morgan whose life and career were cut short when he was shot in a bar by his common law wife Helen.
Collin deftly balances the jazz history and the importance of Lee Morgan on the scene as he played with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakey while giving weight to the true crime and truly tragic aspects of it all.
As electric archival footage that has rarely been seen engulfs us as an audience, Collin allows for Morgan to be in his element as his masterful horn playing simply fills up the speakers and washes over us. The passion for the music is a character in the film unto itself and when the music stops, we are unbelievably sad. We appreciate what we have and what we lost all in the same moments and it’s a testament to Collin as he weaves us through interviews new and old making sure that the music is always there.
In all walks of life there is genius talent whose time on this earth was cut short but I Called Him Morgan simply makes you feel like you were in the middle of it all. That’s why it all works so damn well, you don’t need to love jazz to appreciate this visceral experience.
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