I Called Him Morgan

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I Called Him Morgan
Icalledhimmorgan swedish poster.jpg
Directed byKasper Collin
Produced byKasper Collin
Written byKasper Collin
Music byLee Morgan and more
CinematographyBradford Young, Erik Vallsten
Edited byHanna Lejonqvist, Eva Hillström, Dino Jonsäter, Kasper Collin
Release date
  • 2016 (2016)
CountrySweden - USA

I Called Him Morgan is a 2016 Swedish-American documentary film written and directed by Kasper Collin which gives an account of the life of jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan and his common-law wife Helen Morgan, later responsible for his murder in February 1972.

It premiered out of competition at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival[1] after being pitched at the 2012 MeetMarket at Doc/Fest. After Venice, it went on to play Telluride Film Festival,[2] Toronto International Film Festival,[3][4][5][6][7] New York Film Festival[8][9][10][11] and BFI London Film Festival. After Toronto Vox.com described the film as it "feels like an Oscar winner for best documentary feature just waiting to happen."[12] The New Yorker dubbed the documentary, together with Moonlight and The Hedonists, as New York Film Festival's Breakout Films.[13]

I Called Him Morgan had its US theatrical premiere on March 24, 2017. It premiered in Sweden on March 31, in Canada on April 7, and in the United Kingdom on July 28. In his New York Times review A.O. Scott called the film "a delicate human drama about love, ambition and the glories of music".[14] In Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan noted that "As a slice of recovered and illuminated time, “I Called Him Morgan” has few peers".[15] And in the Wall Street Journal, film critic Joe Morgenstern wrote in his review that "Musicians sometimes paraphrase Debussy, or one another, in saying that music is the silence between the notes. “I Called Him Morgan” has it all—the notes and the silence, plus the music of spoken language, pitched in rueful tones of recollection."[16]

There are 20 reviews registered at Metacritic. Eight of them are registered as 100/100, and the film has reached a metascore of 90/100.[17] On July 1, 2017, Metacritic announced the film as the best reviewed movie of the first half of 2017.[18] As of October 1, 2017, I Called Him Morgan was listed as the third best reviewed movie of the year.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 95% "Certified Fresh" score based on 44 reviews. The site's consensus states: "I Called Him Morgan doubles as a seductive tribute to its subject's jazz passion as well as an absorbing look at a fatally doomed relationship".[19]

The Esquire magazine published a list of "The best documentaries of 2017 (so far)" on September 26, 2017 with I Called Him Morgan at the top.[1] The film was also been included in a midyear best-of list in the Los Angeles Times and Esquire, and in similar midyear summaries in The Playlist, Thrillist and Paste Magazine.

Among the participants in I Called Him Morgan are Wayne Shorter, Jymie Merritt, Billy Harper, Judith Johnson, Bennie Maupin, Larry Ridley, Paul West, Larry Reni Thomas, Al Harrison, Charli Persip and Albert "Tootie" Heath.

On July 24, 2017 the film premiered on Netflix worldwide, except in the UK and Sweden. The UK premiere was on August 8, 2017.

I Called Him Morgan is director Kasper Collin's second feature documentary. The first was My Name Is Albert Ayler .[20]


  1. ^ Lodge, Guy (2016-09-04). "Film Review: 'I Called Him Morgan'". Variety. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  2. ^ Morgenstern, Joe (2016-09-08). "Telluride: Good Movies, Welcome Back". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  3. ^ Hoffman, Jordan (2016-09-12). "I Called Him Morgan review – jazz star's story comes in from the cold". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  4. ^ "Jazz Doc 'I Called Him Morgan' Is A Lively, Moving Portrait Of Music, Love, & Murder [TIFF Review]". The Playlist. 2016-09-18. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  5. ^ "The 15 Best Films Of The 2016 Toronto International Film Festival". The Playlist. 2016-09-19. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  6. ^ Brown, Dwight (2016-09-22). "Black Films and Artists Triumph at 2016 Toronto International Film Festival". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  7. ^ "'Moonlight' Is One of the Best Films at TIFF 2016". Time. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  8. ^ Ebiri, Bilge (2016-09-29). "Fifteen Films Not to Miss at the 2016 New York Film Festival". Village Voice. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  9. ^ Feinstein, Howard. "Studio 54: The New York Film Festival, Part I | Filmmaker Magazine". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  10. ^ "Four Standouts From the New York Film Festival". The Nation. ISSN 0027-8378. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  11. ^ "10 Must-See Movies at the 2016 New York Film Festival". Flavorwire. 2016-09-30. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  12. ^ "15 fall movies you need to see: from La La Land to Moonlight to The Handmaiden". Vox. 2016-09-19. Retrieved 2017-10-01.
  13. ^ "New York Film Festival's Breakout Films". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2017-10-01.
  14. ^ Scott, A. O. (2017-03-23). "Review: 'I Called Him Morgan,' a Jazz Tale of Talent and Tragedy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-19.
  15. ^ Turan, Kenneth (2017-03-30). "The jazz tragedy of Lee Morgan, exquisitely rendered". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-09-19.
  16. ^ Morgenstern, Joe. "'I Called Him Morgan' Review: A Hard Bop Life—and Death". WSJ. Retrieved 2017-09-19.
  17. ^ I Called Him Morgan, retrieved 2017-05-30
  18. ^ "The 25 Best Movies of 2017 So Far". Metacritic. Retrieved 2017-09-19.
  19. ^ I Called Him Morgan, retrieved 2017-05-30
  20. ^ "My Name Is Albert Ayler - the jazz documentary". www.mynameisalbertayler.com. Retrieved 2017-05-30.

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