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Django Reinhardt

 Gypsy jazz guitarist, (1910-1953)

Jean "Django" Reinhardt was a SintoGypsy jazzguitarist. He was born in 1910, while his family’s caravan had stopped at Liberchies in Belgium, but he spent most of his life in France.

At the age of 10, he taught himself to play his uncle’s banjo, and played the violin for a while before finally setting on the guitar. Aged 13, he was already playing his banjo in bars and cafés, and the first record he cut in 1928 is of him playing the banjo.

In 1928, he was on the point of leaving for an engagement with the Jack Hylton orchestra in London when he was badly burned when his caravan caught fire, and never fully recovered the use of two fingers on his left hand. He adapted his guitar technique to suit his handicap, and in 1931 he met the violinist Stéphane Grappelli, with whom he founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France, whose success was interrupted by the Second World War. At the end of the war, the group re-formed and became one of the leading European jazz ensembles, absorbing the be-bop and other influences from the US, and in turn influencing a generation of American jazzmen.

On his return from a tour in the US in 1946, Django bought a house in Samois-sur-Seine, near Fontainebleau in France, and continued to make recordings. He died suddenly from a brain haemorrhage shortly after completing a recording session in 1953.

Reinhardt was one of the first prominent jazz musicians to be born in Europe, and one of the most revered jazz guitarists of all time. His greatest hits include “Nuages”, "My Sweet", "Minor Swing", "Tears", "Belleville" and "Djangology.

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