Dizzy, Miles and the Duke – Hitchhiking to the Festival
Harald Dayot discovered his passion for jazz even as a young man. In 1961 he attended the “Jazz à Juan” festival for the first time in the southern French seaside resort of Juan-Les-Pins, near the city of Antibes. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t there for the premiere the year before,” regrets the 86-year-old, who has lived in Nied since 2012.
“I should have done it like a colleague of mine who simply hitchhiked to the south of France in 1960,” says Dayot, who comes from Freiburg. In 1961 he was out and about as a photographer himself to take pictures of the jazz greats who performed at the multi-day music event – it was not to be his only festival.
To Montreux, of course
Over a period of around 40 years, he attended the most renowned jazz events in Europe, such as the Montreux Jazz Festival or the Nice Jazz Festival in Nice, and thus came into contact with internationally renowned musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993), Duke Ellington ( 1899-1974), Miles Davis (1926-1991) or Dave Brubeck (1920-2012). And of course he remained true to “Jazz à Juan”. A selection of more than 60 of his photographs can now be seen in the exhibition “Jazz is my Life” in the rooms of the Frankfurt Association’s meeting center for an expected period of six weeks. The opening is today at 4 p.m.
“For the first time,” as Dayot says, he is showing his paintings in an exhibition. Klaus Baumgarten, the head of the facility, was responsible for this – he was of the opinion that such a “treasure” should be shown.
Dayot and Baumgarten got to know each other during a one-on-one lesson on the topic of “support on the PC”, an offer especially for seniors in “Café Mouseclick”, which is part of the meeting center. “We got talking and I saw photos of the jazz musicians that he took,” says Baumgarten. This is how the idea for the exhibition came about.
Camera technology from the GDR
The portraits and concert motifs, still photographed with analog technology, give the viewer an insight into the history of jazz and invite them to take a journey through time. They were first recorded with camera equipment from the former GDR. “It was good at the time – and cheaper than Western models,” Dayot recalls. Also because he got the telephoto lens from the family of a surgeon working in the GDR. “At the time I went to Berlin especially to pick it up.”
He has lived in the Rhine-Main area and in Frankfurt for a good 50 years, with interruptions, and worked for the Trifels publishing house for 30 years.
In his retirement he was once again drawn to faraway places, to Gran Canaria, where he lived for almost ten years. With the apartment in Nied he has found a place where he can enjoy growing old – in the middle of the countryside. His photographs are all neatly arranged in a large chest, which he has now opened for the exhibition project to share his memories.