Django Reinhardt: The Sheik of Araby
Today is the birthday of Jean “Django” Reinhardt (1910-1953), one of the greatest jazz guitarists of all time and considered the first important jazz musician to come out of Europe. Belgian by nationality and Romani (Gypsy) by birth, he learned to play banjo and violin as a child, later switching to guitar. Remarkably, he lost partial use of two of his fingers in an accident; those amazing solos he played were done with only two fingers. His style is instantly recognizable, even to jazz dilettantes like myself. Here’s one of his best known recordings, his quintet’s 1937 version of that old 20’s classic “The Sheik of Araby”. Djang’s solo starts right after the one-minute mark.