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JAZZ CASCAIS FESTIVAL 1971 | by Fernando Ricardo
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Foto Fernando Ricardo


The first Cascais Jazz Festival took place on November the 20th, 1971, in the Dramático de Cascais pavilion in Portugal, organized by the fado singer João Braga and the musician Luís Villas-Boas. This cultural event has its place in history not only for being the first jazz festival with international level made in Portugal, but also for the first show of the legendary Miles Davis in Portugal.


There were around 20 thousand people between the two days of the festival, such as some famous names like Alexandre O'Neill, Zeca Afonso and Amália Rodrigues. This festival caused great bustle because of its meaning and because of the political moment the country was going through: Portugal was under a totalitarian regime, ruled by Marcelo Caetano, and was being consumed by a colonial war in Angola and Mozambique, for this reason, the locale was fully patrolled.


Performers included Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon and The Bridge Quartet, Phill Woods & His European Rhythm Machine, The Giants of Jazz (Thelonious Monk, Kai Winding, Art Blakey, Sonny Stitt, Al McKibbon and Dizzy Gillespie). Ornette Coleman's performance began some controversy when during his gig his bassist, Charlie Haden, dedicated their song "Song for Che" to the black liberation movements in Angola and Mozambique. His act roused an amount of Communist raising fists from the audience, that put the continuity of the festival in danger. After the concert, Charlie Haden was approached by two governmental police officers (PIDE) and taken to the dungeons located in the PIDE headquarters, where he and the rest of his band were intimidated to leave Portugal immediately.


Despite all the difficulties, Cascais Jazz came true, and between 1971 and 1980, the festival welcomed great names of jazz music like Jimmy Smith, Dave Brubeck, B.B. King, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Sonny Rolins, Betty Carter, Buddy Guy and many more.

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Taken on January 20, 2010