Jean "Django" Reinhardt (French: [dÊ'Ã£ÅÉ¡o ÊÉjnaÊt] or [dÊ'É'ÌÉ¡o ÊenÉ'Êt]; 23 January 1910 â 16 May 1953) was a Belgian-born, Romani French jazz guitarist and composer, regarded as one of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century. He was the first jazz talent to emerge from Europe and remains the most significant by far.
Reinhardt lost most control of two fingers on his left hand in a fire in his youth. He developed a modified technique to overcome this disability and went on to forge an entirely new âhotâ jazz guitar style, now known as Gypsy jazz, or jazz manouche, that remains a musical tradition in France and neighbouring countriesâespecially within Gypsy culture. Reinhardtâs innovations on the guitar helped elevated it above its prior position as usually only a rhythm instrument.
With violinist StÃ©phane Grappelli, Reinhardt formed the Paris-based Quintette du Hot Club de France in 1934. The group was among the first to play jazz that featured the guitar as a lead instrument. Reinhardt recorded in France with many visiting American musicians, including Coleman Hawkins and Benny Carter, and briefly toured the United States with Duke Ellingtonâs orchestra in 1946. He died suddenly of a stroke at the age of 43.
Reinhardtâs most popular compositions have become standards within gypsy jazz, including "Minor Swing", "Daphne", "Belleville", "Djangology", "Swing â42", and "Nuages". Jazz guitarist Frank Vignola claims that nearly every major popular-music guitarist in the world has been influenced by Reinhardt. Over the last few decades, annual Django festivals have been held throughout Europe and the U.S., and a biography has been written about his life. In February 2017, the Berlin International Film Festival held the world premiere of the French film, Django.