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Murdered Jazz Legend Lee Morgan Honored with Music and a Documentary at HIFF

Hear Morgan’s fellow trumpeter Eddie Henderson Nov. 3 and 4 at Lewers Lounge, then catch the Hawai‘i International Film Festival documentary “I Called Him Morgan” Nov. 5.


Video and photos: Courtesy of Honolulu International Film Festival


Actors and directors make routine appearances at film festivals, but it’s rare to hear a musician show up to play what’s on the screen. That’s what trumpeter Eddie Henderson will be doing Fri., Nov. 3 and Sat., Nov. 4 when he appears at Halekūlani’s “Live at Lewers” Masters of Jazz Series—blowing hot homage to complement HIFF’s Nov. 5 screening of I Called Him Morgan. The acclaimed documentary is a sizzling study of jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan, who died at 33 in 1972, murdered in a New York City nightclub where he was playing. 


A trumpeter, Morgan played on John Coltrane’s 1957 Blue Train as a teenager, joined Dizzy Gillespie’s band and cut 25 albums with Blue Note Records. As The Guardian wrote in its review of the documentary, “For those who don’t know much about jazz, this sound is what you think about when you think about jazz. And it’s Lee Morgan blowing the horn.” But although Morgan started hot, he became a junkie. His common-law wife, Helen, managed his career and addiction for years. He was in the midst of another comeback from drug abuse when she shot him at Slug’s Saloon in Manhattan.


Lee Morgan


Lee Morgan


I Called Him Morgan has been called the best jazz film since Let’s Get Lost, the Chet Baker documentary that spawned a myriad fashion spreads with its ultra-cool look by director Bruce Weber. It’s also extraordinary because of Helen Morgan’s participation. The imaginative pairing of film and live performance comes courtesy of HIFF sponsor Halekūlani, which has booked Henderson for three consecutive years at Lewers Lounge.


Eddie Henderson

Catch trumpeter Eddie Henderson Fri., Nov. 3 and Sat., Nov. 4 at Halekūlani’s “Live at Lewers” Masters of Jazz Series.


Renowned in his own right, Eddie Henderson was on the scene, playing and running with Morgan during those days when West 54th Street in Manhattan was giving birth to the hard-driving bop universe. Henderson got his break as a teen with Miles Davis and then played on three Herbie Hancock albums; Hancock and his band also backed Henderson on his first two albums.


To reserve tickets for Eddie Henderson at the Halekūlani’s Lewers Lounge: halekulani.com/live-lewers-eddie-henderson or call (808) 923-2311. For I Called Him Morgan, and all other HIFF events: hiff.org/event-information/view/box-office-and-tickets or (808) 447-0577.




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Honolulu Magazine April 2018
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