Where Muddy Waters famously said that "the blues had a baby and they called it rock'n'jazz roll", it could be said that jazz had a baby and they called it Django, such was his innate understanding and advancement of the form.
Where American blues and rock'n'roll still thrives on the unlikely story of Robert Johnson trading his soul to the devil in exchange for his prodigious talent, European jazz needs only look at Reinhardt's real life story for inspiration. Born Jean-Baptiste Reinhardt on 23 January in a traditional gypsy caravan in Belgium he was soon given the nickname of Django, meaning "I awake".
Reinhardt's earliest talents included stealing chickens, tickling trout and cooking hedgehogs, all necessary for survival. But it was in the gypsy camps of la Zone on the outskirts of Paris where he discovered music.
What makes his talent all the more admirable is that, after his hands were badly injured during a fire when he was a teenager, Reinhardt lost the use two of his fingers on his left hand and was told he would never play guitar again. Despite this, Reinhardt taught himself to play by compensating with his functioning fingers. Instead of attending school, his education involved playing cafes and flea markets, mixing Romany rhythms with Parisian swing. A dapper outsider who infiltrated a Parisian society that had previously shunned him, Reinhardt's reputation grew quickly with his band Quintette du Hot Club de France.
And so began a vagabond life that saw him command the highest fees in Europe, then spend them just as quickly. Hendrix named his Band of Gypsies in Reinhardt's honour, while Reinhardt's music has scored dozens of films and his photo sits on the walls of many Romany houses today biographer Michael Pregni says he is "a cultural hero for a people with few heroes".
Reinhardt even has a planet named after him — Django. His life of wine, women and song is certainly one worth reading.
Reinhardt only lived until the age of 43 and lamented that he might be overlooked by history. No such worries there — a quick Google search reveals that plenty of musicians will be marking his birthday tomorrow with concerts all over the world. This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase.
To find out who was reigning supreme on the Official Singles Chart on your 14 th birthday, simply enter your date of birth in our Official Chart archive. Delighted or extremely troubled by the result? Tell us in the comments below.
You can also find out on our page that lists every Official Number 1 single ever , going back to Just for fun, we punched in the 14th birthdays of some music stars to see which song supposedly defines them best. Of course a total banger, and Number 1 for over ten weeks - representing two of the UK's biggest artists.