Reinhardt grew up in a Gypsy caravan, which is where he learned to play the guitar with with that Romany swing. His background made him a rather odd duck on the Paris jazz scene for sure.
But there’s a little more to the story than that: at age 18 he was caught in a caravan fire that left his left hand partly paralyzed. As we note in our loop on Celebs Missing Fingers, “Reinhardt developed a new playing technique to overcome the problem and by the end of World War II he was an international superstar.”
Reinhardt was only 43 when he died in 1953. But he’d already made his mark. Happy birthday, Mr. Reinhardt, wherever you are.
See our full Django Reinhardt profile.