I usually stick pretty close to cars here, even if I do drift a ways from everyone's fave 26 point five mighty mite. Today, I'm going way off topic.
Django Reinhardt was born one hundred years ago today. One of the greatest jazz musicians who ever played, Reinhardt developed a signature guitar style that set the standard for those who came after him. His life was a series of triumphs over adversity; at 18 he survived a fire that left him with several useless fingers and a paralyzed leg, leading to a unique fingering approach that allowed him to play with the use of only two fingers on his fretting hand. Django was on tour in the UK with the Hot Club of France when war broke out. Though he was a gypsy, and thus under threat of immediate deportation to a Nazi concentration camp, Reinhardt returned to Paris. Paradoxically, Reinhardt thrived under the occupation, playing and recording constantly with little trouble from Nazi authorities, probably due to the influence of a Luftwaffe officer who was a secret jazz fan.
Reinhardt died of a brain hemorhagge on May 16, 1953. He was 43 years old. He left behind hundreds of recordings and a legacy that is unmatched by any other guitarist.
Also today, I turn 44 years old. As I look back on a life spent with neither the tragedies nor majesty of Django's life I'm just glad that I can still hear him play.
Happy Birthday Django.