The late jazz saxophonist Frank Morgan's tale of redemption from drug addict, conman and convict to beloved elder statesman of jazz.
Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Project
Frank Morgan was a prodigal alto sax player who, like so many of his fellow musicians of the era, saw his career plagued by drug addiction. What sets Frank apart is not just his exceptionally beautiful, classic alto playing, but also the amazing fact that he survived 30 years of revolving door incarceration and drug abuse and went on to a much heralded comeback career in the last 22 years of his life. His story is one of brilliant promise in his youth, a journey through the depths of hell, and redemption through his art.
The documentary film will tell the story of his life and transformation through interviews with fellow musicians and people who were close to him. These will be intercut with footage of Frank, and tracks of his very emotional music. Holding the story together will be footage of the preparation and performance of a tribute concert planned for a prison (see update below.) The years Frank spent in San Quentin State Prison were significant because there were so many great musicians “in residence” there that the far-sighted warden of the time allowed them to form a big band, known as The San Quentin All Stars. People came from all around the Bay Area to hear them play. Frank was proud to be in that band, and doubtless refined his skills as a musician in the company of the other great players serving time for narcotics related convictions.
Once free, Frank played and recorded music that moved critics and the public alike. All along the comeback trail he spoke of the pitfalls of drugs and urged young musicians to stay clean. Decades after the release of his first solo album, Frank became a star at last. His true love, artist Rosalinda Kolb, helped him come back and stay straight. In 2007, he met the young Grace Kelly, a saxophone prodigy. With no children of his own, he saw in her his legacy. He introduced her to the public at his gigs, and gave her all he could of his wisdom and love in the last months of his life. Frank Morgan passed away in late 2007.
What The Money Is For
The money we raise on Kickstarter will be used to finish the film. While we have been able to keep our costs down so far, there is no way around the costs for color correction, sound mixing, and in particular, licensing fees, all of which are essential to finishing the film. So, your generous gifts will go toward these absolutely necessary last steps.
UPDATE 5/23/12 -- INCREDIBLE NEWS!!!
WE’VE FINALLY BEEN GIVEN PERMISSION TO FILM AT SAN QUENTIN! NC’s dream, since the beginning of this project, was to put together a tribute band and do a concert at The Q, in memory of Frank, and to bring some really visceral footage into the project. After tireless efforts on the part of our producer James Egan, we have finally had a breakthrough, and filming will go in mid-October. The line-up so far: Grace Kelly on alto, George Cables on piano, and Delfeayo Marsalis on trombone. Stay tuned for more news as other musicians sign on. Your support on Kickstarter is now even more significant!
Watch The Trailer
Notable Figures In The Film
--Ron Carter - Renowned master bass player who played on two of Frank's comeback albums. He played with Miles Davs and is the most recorded bassist in jazz history .
--Gary Giddins – Jazz critic. The foremost jazz expert in the US.
--Laurie Pepper – Widow of musician Art Pepper, who was in San Quentin with Frank Morgan.
--Ed Reed - Was in San Quentin with Frank.
--George Cables – Piano player. Played with Frank, wrote the tune “Lullaby,” Frank's signature song.
--Grace Kelly – The 19-year-old girl who is heir to the jazz throne. Former protégé of Frank, spoke with him every day.
--Clora Bryant – Jazz trumpet player, 85. Played at Club Alabam, looked after Little Frankie.
--Gerald Wilson – Famed big band leader. Frank was in his band on a TV show called “Joe Adams Presents” on Channel 11 Los Angeles.
--Kirk Silsbee -- Los Angeles arts critic.
--Delfeayo Marsalis -- The youngest of the famed Marsalis brothers, played with Frank.
--Rosalinda Kolb -- Artist and Frank's ex-wife.
--Michael Connelly – Bestselling author of 25 crime novels, a jazz fan, and a friend of Frank’s. Executive Producer of this documentary..
Director N.C Heikin
N.C. Heikin began her career at La Mama Experimental Theatre Club in New York and went on to work on and off Broadway as an actress, singer and director. She has written screenplays for Disney and Paramount as well as French TV networks. In 2004, she made her directing debut with her prize-winning short, mañana. Her first documentary, Kimjongilia, about North Korean refugees, premiered at Sundance, won the One World Brussels Best Film 2010, and has been seen all over the world. Heikin’s stage play, LATE, is in casting for a premiere in Paris next season.
Producer James Egan
James Egan is a writer and producer whose credits range from In & Out (1985) to Angels in the Dust (2007), which won the Amnesty International VARA Award for social justice. In 2000, Egan founded Wild at Heart Films (www.WildatHeartFilms.us), which aims to create “media that makes a difference." James is a National Trustee of the Wounded Marine Careers Foundation, which provides job training programs in Media for Wounded Warriors of all Armed Services and helps them find employment in the entertainment business.
Executive Producer Michael Connelly
(Michael and Frank in Boston.)
Michael Connelly is the author of more than twenty novels, including two series of #1 bestsellers--one featuring the Lincoln Lawyer, Mickey Haller, and another featuring LAPD detective Harry Bosch. The Lincoln Lawyer was recently made into a movie starring Matthew McConaughey, and an earlier thriller, Blood Work, was a movie starring Clint Eastwood. Michael is former crime reporter for the L.A. Times.
When will the film be finished and released?
Our goal is to release the film in 2013.
Can I increase my pledge once it's been made?
Yes, you can increase your pledge amount. Just sign in to Kickstarter and go to our project page. Find the “Manage Your Donation” button. Click it and you can enter a new amount.
What happens if the money isn’t raised in time?
If our goal isn’t met by the deadline, no money changes hands. Your pledge will only be counted if we get fully funded. That is the way Kickstarter works.
Can you exceed the goal?
Yes! We we can keep raising money until our deadline. We hope to surpass our goal.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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