23 January marks the birthday of Django Reinhardt, a Belgium-born French guitarist and composer of Romani ethnicity. Reinhardt is regarded as one of the greatest guitar players of all time; he was the first important European jazz musician who made major contributions to the development of the guitar genre. After his fourth and fifth fingers were paralyzed when he suffered burns in a fire, Reinhardt used only the index and middle finger of his left hand on his solos. He created an entirely new style of jazz guitar technique (sometimes called ‘hot’ jazz guitar), which has since become a living musical tradition within French Gypsy culture.
Please enjoy this short video which allows you to hear a bit of his musical style and provides some biographical background. In the words of Louis Armstrong,
That cat sure could play!