Life Crime a Story of Redemption is a personal, moving, and musical film carving out a significant place in the critical national debate on social justice. Film by NC Heikin.
While filming the Frank Morgan tribute concert in San Quentin for Sound of Redemption, NC met inmate Reginald Austin #B57661, a fellow musician who knew Frank when they were in the Q together. By then, Reggie had been in jail for 33 years for second-degree murder. He was not sure he’d ever get out. But he was sure of two things: his own guilt, and the inadequacies of the criminal justice system.
That night in 2012, something special happened. Reggie got onstage to play a tune with the all-star band (George Cables, Ron Carter, Delfeayo Marsalis, Mark Gross, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, and Grace Kelly), and by his own account, it changed his life.
Life Crime is about what happened from there and how that moment led to Mr. Austin’s parole after 12 previous unsuccessful attempts. It delves into the heart of our mass incarceration problem and touches on a whole range of issues about social justice, racism, inequality, violence, drug addiction, rehabilitation, forgiveness and redemption.
Reggie’s story comes full circle when he is invited to play at the Frank Morgan Taos Jazz Festival. For the first time in over 35 years he plays for a public audience, experiences the thrill of a cheering audience, and finally steps into a new life.