I posted something similar to this on another guitar site. I wanted to get some input from the GJ experts so here I go: As brilliant as Django Reinhardt's technique was, there are modern players who outplay him in speed, etc. Of course, he was no slouch for speed and technique.
I am totally dazzled when I listen to Joscho Stephan, Jimmy Rosenberg or Frank Vignola for example. All of them and others are brilliant! However, after listening to all that great playing, when I go back to Django, its like I just re-acquainted with an old friend. He is just so satisfying to listen to. (Of course, this is a subjective opinion and I could be totally off base.)
So what is that intangible that makes him head and shoulders above the brilliant players who lovingly play tributes to him every day.