Brief bio found on YouTube:
Jean-Baptiste “Django” Reinhardt (January 23, 1910 — May 16, 1953) was a Belgian Sinto Gypsy jazz guitarist. He was one of the first prominent jazz musicians to be born in Europe, and one of the most renowned jazz guitarists of all time. His most renowned works include “My Sweet”, “Minor Swing”, “Tears”, “Belleville”, “Djangology” and “Nuages”. Reinhardt spent most of his youth in gypsy encampments close to Paris, playing banjo, guitar and violin from an early age professionally at Bal-musette halls in Paris. He started first on the violin and eventually moved on to a banjo-guitar .At the age of 18 Reinhardt was injured in a fire that ravaged the caravan he shared with Bella, his first wife. They were very poor, and to supplement their income Bella made imitation flowers out of celluloid and paper. Consequently, their home was full of this highly flammable material. Returning from a performance late one night, Django apparently knocked over a candle on his way to bed. While his family and neighbors were quick to pull him to safety, he received first- and second-degree burns over half his body. His right leg was paralyzed and the third and fourth fingers of his left hand were badly burnt. Doctors believed that he would never play guitar again and intended to amputate one of his legs. Reinhardt refused to have the surgery and left the hospital after a short time; he was able to walk within a year with the aid of a cane. In 1934, Louis Vola formed the “Quintette du Hot Club de France” with Reinhardt, violinist Stéphane Grappelli, Reinhardt’s brother Joseph and Roger Chaput on guitar, and himself on bass.The concept of “lead guitar” (Django) and backing “rhythm guitar” (Joseph Reinhardt/Roger Chaput or Pierre Ferret) was born with that band. When World War II broke out, the original quintet was on tour in the United Kingdom. Reinhardt returned to Paris. Reinhardt survived World War II unscathed, unlike the many Gypsies who perished in the porajmos, the Nazi regime’s systematic murder of several hundred thousand European Gypsies, quite a few of whom were sent to death camps. He was especially fortunate because the Nazi regime did not allow jazz to be performed and recorded. He apparently enjoyed the protection of the Luftwaffe officer Dietrich Schulz-Köhn, nicknamed “Doktor Jazz”, who deeply admired his music. Many musicians have expressed admiration for Reinhardt , including guitarist Jimmy McCulloch, classical guitarist Julian Bream; country artist Chet Atkins, who placed Reinhardt #1 on a list of the ten most influential guitarists of the 20th century ; Carlos Santana; B.B. King; Jerry Garcia; Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi; Jimi Hendrix; Synyster Gates; Shawn Lane; Stevie Ray Vaughan; Derek Trucks; Mark Knopfler; Les Paul; Joe Pass; Peter Frampton; Denny Laine; Jeff Beck; Jon Larsen; Trey Anastasio; Steve Howe; Charlie Christian and George Benson. Jimi Hendrix is said to have named one of his bands the Band of Gypsys because of Django’s music. The Allman Brothers Band song “Jessica” was written by Dickey Betts in tribute to Reinhardt — he wanted to write a song that could be played using only two fingers. This aspect of the artist’s work also inspired Tony Iommi, who continued playing guitar despite a factory accident cost him his two fingertips.