Happy Birthday, Django Reinhardt
Library of Congress/William P. Gottlieb (Public Domain)
Django Reinhardt is my favorite jazz guitarist. He invented "hot jazz," and with Stéphane Grappelli made an indelible mark on jazz music worldwide. What's most impressive is that Django played his solos with only two fingers on his left hand, as the others were partially paralyzed after being burned at age 18. The other two fingers were used for chords, but those melodic solos? Yep, just two fingers, people.
Django was born on January 23, 1910, and died aged only 43. On what would have been his 103rd birthday, here's a documentary on his life: Swing Guitar: the Genius of Django Reinhardt. It contains rare film of Django playing, and puts his life and jazz contributions into perspective.
His early years, and some rare footage of him playing.
Here comes Grappelli!
A long discussion of Django's impulsivity, gambling, and general unreliability -- plus plenty of performance film.
The war ends, the jazz begins anew.
Django's last days.
The Documentary on DVD
Amazon has the documentary, used, on DVD. Looks to be out of print: Swing Guitar: The Genius of Django Reinhardt.