28 de abril de 2008

Charlie Haden: ainda o episódio do I Cascais Jazz

Há umas semanas atrás, JNPDI! publicou um artigo de fundo sobre o episódio Charlie Haden no Cascais Jazz de 1971 e a sua detenção pela PIDE/DGS.

Sobre este mesmo assunto, encontrámos recentemente uma entrevista de Haden ao programa de rádio norte-americano Democracy now, diálogo conduzido por Amy Goodman em 1 de Setembro de 2006. Ficámos a saber vários factos, nomeadamente que Haden não teve só problemas com a PIDE/DGS, mas também com o FBI, que o abordou quando do seu regresso aos EUA.

PS: o jornalista português de quem Haden fala nesta entrevista é o nosso José Duarte.

Jazz Legend Charlie Haden on His Life, His Music and His Politics


AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about playing in Portugal? When was that? ’71?

CHARLIE HADEN: It was 1971. I had just had triplet daughters. And—


AMY GOODMAN: Well, now I want to go back to you. 1971, had you had your kids yet?

CHARLIE HADEN: Yes. They were born October 11, and Ornette called and said we have a chance to go on this Newport Jazz Festival tour of Europe with Duke Ellington’s band; Miles Davis’s band; Dexter Gordon; the Giants of Jazz, which included Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Stitt, Al McKibben, Art Blakey. I mean, I can’t believe that we were all on tour together. And I was with Ornette’s quartet, which was Ornette, and Dewey Redman was playing tenor saxophone, and Ed Blackwell was playing drums. And I said, “Well, you know, we just had these girls, man. And I gotta stay here and help, you know.” And—


AMY GOODMAN: Eight months into the pregnancy, you learned you were having triplets?

CHARLIE HADEN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so, Ornette said, “Well, can her mother come out and help, because this tour is really important, you know?” And I said, “Okay.” So we got it all fixed up, and I went to Europe. But I saw on the itinerary before we left that we were playing in Portugal, and I didn’t agree with the government there. It was a kind of a fascist government. They had colonies in Guinea-Bissau, in Angola and Mozambique, and they were systematically wiping out the Black race, you know? And so I called Ornette, and I said, “You know, I don’t want to play in Portugal.” And he said, “Charlie, we’ve already signed the contract. We’ve gotta play. It’s the last country on the concert tour. Figure out—maybe you can do something to protest it, you know?”

AMY GOODMAN: The Caetano regime.

CHARLIE HADEN: Yeah. And so, during the tour we were playing one of my songs, “Song for Che,” and I decided that when we played my song, because it was connected to me, because I was the guy that was going to do it, you know, I would dedicate that song to the Black peoples’ liberation movements in Mozambique and Angola and Guinea-Bissau. And I asked—I think we were in Bulgaria, and we were doing a jazz festival there. Or Romania, we were in Bucharest, and I asked one of the journalists there, who was from Portugal, I said, “I’m planning on”—because he knew about the Liberation Music Orchestra. He says, “What are you going to do?” And I said, “I’m going to dedicate—what would happen if I did this?”

He said, “Well, three or four different things. You can either be shot on the spot, or they could pull you off the stage, or they could arrest you on the stage. They could arrest you in your dressing room. Or they can arrest you later. But you’re going to be arrested.” And I thought, you know, I don’t think they’ll arrest me, man. I’m an American jazz musician. This is a jazz festival. It has nothing to do with politics. I think I’m safe.

Ornette e Haden no I Cascais Jazz. Foto de Augusto Mayer

So I made the dedication, and I wasn’t arrested immediately, but, you know, when I did the dedication there were young people there, students, that were in the cheaper seats in front, and they all started cheering so loud that you couldn’t hear the music. And a lot of police were running around with automatic weapons, and they, right after we finished our set, they stopped down the festival, and they closed down in Cascais this big stadium that we were playing in. And we went back to the hotel, and so I was starting to get concerned about what was going to happen.

The next day, we went to the airport, and at the airport, I was trying to get my bass on the plane to make sure I could get the bass on the plane. And there were hundreds and hundreds of people in front of the airlines’ counters. And finally, one of the people from TWA came around the counter and said, “There was a man over there who wanted to interview you, and you have to stay here.” And I said, “I don’t want to be interviewed.” And Ornette came over and said, “What’s going on?” And they say, “They want to interview Mr. Haden, and you guys are going to get on the plane. And he’s staying here.” And Ornette said, “No, we’re not going on the plane. We’re going to stay here with him.” And they said, “No, you’re not. You’re getting on the plane.” They took them by the arms, and they led them on the aircraft. And I stayed there, and they took me down a winding staircase to an interrogation room and started pumping me with questions. They said, “We’re going to transfer you over to the PIDE headquarters.”

AMY GOODMAN: The police?

CHARLIE HADEN: It was the political police of Portugal. And so I said, you know, “I’m a United States citizen with a United States passport. I demand to be able to call the embassy.” And the guy who worked for TWA looked at me and smiled and said, “It’s Sunday, Mr. Haden. You can’t call the embassy. You shouldn’t mix politics with music.”


Foto de João Moreira dos Santos

AMY GOODMAN: “Song for Che” by Charlie Haden, the song he dedicated to the Black liberation movements of Mozambique and Angola that got him arrested in Portugal in 1971. Charlie Haden describes what happened once the Portuguese police got him.

CHARLIE HADEN: And the next thing I know, I’m in a car, and we’re traveling to a prison. And I’m thrown into a dark room with no lights, and I stay there for I don’t know how long. A long, long time. And finally—I mean, I was traumatized. You know, I thought I’d never get to see my kids. I thought it was over. I didn’t know what they were going to do.

And they finally came and got me from the room and took me up to an interrogation room with really, really bright lights. I couldn’t see anything. And there was one guy who spoke English that started pumping questions at me right and left, and one of the questions, which I was kind of prepared for, because I thought I would kind of try to fool them. He said, “Why did you make this dedication?” And I said, “Well, I’ve been making a dedication at every country we went to. I dedicated something in Germany to the German people. I dedicated something in France.” And he said, “Do you expect us to believe that?” You know, anyway, they brought a statement to me to sign. I refused to sign it, and they started to look—one guy had a trunch, and in his hand he was doing like this. And—

AMY GOODMAN: Hitting it against his other hand.

CHARLIE HADEN: Hitting it against his other hand. And as soon as I thought like everything is over with, there was a guy that came down and whispered something in the head policeman’s ear. And all of a sudden he completely changed. He says, “Mr. Haden, you’re going upstairs. Someone from the American embassy is here to retrieve you.”

And I went up to this real plush room, which was really different from where I had been, and the guy said, “Hey, Charlie, what’d you say the other night that caused all that commotion?” He says, “Wow!” He said, “Well, my name’s Bob Jones, and I’m from Chicago. I’m the cultural attaché here. Come along with me and, you know, we can get you out of this place.” You know, I said, “Oh, great!” Anyway, I went to his villa and went to the airport and got—

AMY GOODMAN: This was Nixon’s cultural attaché to Portugal.

CHARLIE HADEN: This was Nixon’s cultural attaché. I found out later from Ornette, too, and from other people that they weren’t going to do—the United States wasn’t going to do anything, because they were very embarrassed by what I did, because of NATO. And they didn’t want to have anything to do with it. And finally, I guess Ornette helped, too, and one of the promoters in Lisbon was kind enough to help, and they said, “You know, this guy’s a famous jazz musician, and you better let him go, you know, because it’s not going to look good for you.” And they let me go, and I was very happy.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to the legendary musician, bassist and political activist, Charlie Haden. After this, did it change your thoughts about speaking out? Did it make you radioactive for other jazz musicians? Did musicians support you in what you had done?

CHARLIE HADEN: Most of the musicians that I performed and played and recorded with all supported me. You know, it’s such a struggle for jazz musicians in this country to get their music played and to the people. And in that struggle, they don’t really have time—or, you know, they’re struggling to play their music, and I think that that’s the reason that more musicians don’t speak out politically.

But I started getting worried when the FBI came to my apartment, and they had been watching the house. I saw cars out in front on 97th Street, where we lived, and I knew plain-clothes cars when I saw it, you know. And they finally came up to the door and rang the doorbell, and they said, “We’re FBI. We want to talk to you.” And I said, “Well, why should I let you in?” They said, “Well, we’re asking you if we can come in and talk to you.” So I said, “I don’t have anything to hide. Come in.” So, they asked me, you know, “Why did you do that?” And I told them. I said, “I don’t agree with the policies of the Portuguese government, and that’s why I did that.” And they had a whole dossier on me. I couldn’t believe it.

Anyway, but I thought about it afterwards, and if I had it to do again, I would do it again. And as a result, I think, of what I did, because nobody had ever done that in Portugal, my wife Ruth and I later learned that they put it into the school books of the schools in Portugal, what I did. And there was a revolution in 1974 of the young enlisted officers, and they overthrew Caetano. He fled the country. And I think it was a gentleman named Duarte [Soares] that took over, socialist government. They invited me to come back, and I came back and I played. And there were 40,000 people in this big meadow in Lisbon, and they were all chanting, “Charlie! Charlie! Charlie!” And I had goose bumps all over. It made me feel so good.

And then, my wife Ruth and I were invited back, because I met, while I was there, Carlos Paredes, who was this famous fado player, and I loved his playing, and so I said, “I want to play with you.” He had been arrested under Salazar. And we came back and did a film with him, and they took me back to the stadium where I was arrested in ’71. And they did a little documentary. It was all in Portuguese. And it was really nice to go back.

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