Three-Fingered Lightening

Belgian guitarist Django Reinhardt put France on the global map of jazz.
In the mid-1920s Paris was a global hub of jazz. African-American jazz performers like vocalist Josephine Baker and trombonist and bandleader Sidney Bichet took residence there and inspired generations of French musicians to look across the Atlantic for their music, all the way to the jazz clubs of New York or New Orleans. Among those inspired were Belgian “Gypsy” guitarist Django Reinhardt and French violinist Stephane Grapelli. In 1934 they joined with other accomplished musicians in the “Quintette du Hot Club de France,” a combo that pioneered an exuberant and distinctly jazz from France known as manouche (“gypsy swing.”) As you may be able to see in this video, Reinhardt only had full use of three fingers on his left hand, the fourth and fifth having been damaged in a fire, hence the nickname “Three-Fingered Lightening.”

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