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Jean Baptiste ‘Django’ Reinhardt was born on 23 January 1910 in Liverchies, Belgium. A gypsy who was largely illiterate, Reinhardt turned out to be a musical genius. He started his career as a banjoist in the 1920s, performing with dance bands. After discovering the music of Louis Armstrong on records, he brought his gypsy sound into jazz, switching to guitar. Django survived a horrible fire in his gypsy caravan that permanently scarred one of his hands, rendering three of his fingers on the hand that he used to finger chords unusable. He relearned the guitar and by the early 1930s had developed into the top guitarist in jazz and the first truly major European jazz musician.

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