Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Larry Reni Thomas, Wayne Shorter, Paul West, Charli Persip, Albert "Tootie" Heath, Ron St. Clair, Larry Ridley, Jymie Merritt, Al Harrison, Lena Sherrod, Bennie Maupin, Jerry Schultz, Judith Johnson, Billy Harper
Written by: Kasper Collin
Directed by: Kasper Collin
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 89
Date: 04/28/2017
IMDB

I Called Him Morgan (2017)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Sidewinding

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Lee Morgan (1938-1972) was probably not the most legendary of jazz trumpeters, but he was astoundingly prolific and quite popular, with his top-selling LP The Sidewinder (1964) becoming a classic. His story is also unique in that he was murdered at the tender age of 33, shot by his older, live-in girlfriend Helen. For the documentary I Called Him Morgan — which I saw during the SF Film Festival — filmmaker Kasper Collin finds an interview with Helen, done in the final days of her life, and bases his film around this recording. He also uses lovely filmed interludes to suggest weather and mood, and it's all quite interesting. But in the end, the movie spends a little too much time on Morgan's rise to fame and his battles with drugs. It doesn't go very far into the music itself (it barely mentions his great performance on John Coltrane's Blue Train album), nor does it create much of a mystery or a tragedy over the murder. Like the music, it's not exactly groundbreaking, but at least it's good. The Roxie Cinema is playing the film starting April 28, 2017.

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