DJ Jazzy Jeff

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DJ Jazzy Jeff
DJ Jazzy Jeff in 2005
Background information
Birth name Jeffrey Allen Townes
Also known as Jazz
Born (1965-01-22) January 22, 1965 (age 52)
Origin Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Genres Hip hop, R&B
Occupation(s) Record producer, DJ, turntablist, actor, comedian
Years active 1985–present
Associated acts DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Will Smith
Notable instruments

Jeffrey Allen Townes[1] (born January 22, 1965), also known as DJ Jazzy Jeff or simply Jazz, is an American hip hop and R&B disc jockey, record producer, turntablist, actor & comedian who is best known for his early career with Will Smith as DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.[2]


Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Jeffrey Allen Townes was born on January 22, 1965 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[3] Early on, he developed a reputation and a following as a school and block party DJ. He took the stage name DJ Jazzy Jeff and was one half of the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince along with Will Smith. The group received the first Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance in 1989 for "Parents Just Don't Understand", though their most successful single was "Summertime" which earned the group their second Grammy and peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100.


When Smith branched out into television with the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Jazzy Jeff played a recurring character named Jazz, Smith's best friend on the show. In the early seasons, the two characters always greeted each other with their signature handshake (swinging mid-five, point-back, snap with both characters saying "Pssh!"). A recurring joke throughout the show's run involved the character being physically ejected from the house by Uncle Phil (James Avery), using the same footage for comedic effect.

Hamburg, Germany 2002


One of the first records Jazzy Jeff ever appeared on was with The Korner Boyz (Street Artz Records) "Bust The Move and The Soga of Roxanne", which featured legendary Philadelphia rapper, MC Parry P and Grand Tone. The Instrumental was called "Jazzy Jeff Scratch" (1985). DJ Jazzy Jeff along with DJ Cash Money is credited with making the transformer scratch famous.[citation needed]

As a duo, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince had several gold and platinum-selling albums and singles in the late 1980s and early 1990s, earning them the first rap Grammy Award ever presented in 1989 for "Parents Just Don't Understand."[4] They also won a second Grammy for "Summertime".[5]

After DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince broke up, Townes went on to become a prominent R&B, soul, and neo soul record producer, establishing the A Touch of Jazz production company in his native Philadelphia. Among the artists that Jazzy Jeff has helped develop are Eric Roberson, Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild, Eminem, The Roots, Jewel, Darius Rucker, Talib Kweli, Floetry, Rhymefest, and many more. Even though he separated from Will Smith as a music partner, they are still friends, and occasionally work together.

Some songs by Smith were produced by Townes (including “Here He Comes"), and he has performed on some songs by Smith such as "So Fresh" and "Potnas." In addition, he appeared in several of Smith's music videos such as "Will2K" and "Freakin' It". On some occasions, he made appearances with Smith at live concerts, producing DJ scratches. On July 2, 2005, DJ Jazzy Jeff performed with Smith at the Live 8 concert in Philadelphia. Moreover, Smith acknowledges him in his music such as "Comin' To The Stage" from the album Lost and Found and "Potnas" from his album Willennium.

His 2007 release The Return of the Magnificent featured numerous collaborations with old school and new school artists including CL Smooth, Big Daddy Kane, Pos from De La Soul, Method Man, Peedi Peedi (a remake of Brand New Funk), Rhymefest, and Raheem DeVaughn. In 2007, he appeared with Rhymefest in a video directed by Konee Rok, in which he makes music in his home recording studio with Rhymefest.

In 2008, Townes performed with Smith at the premiere of the latter's 2008 film Hancock.[6]

In 2009, he made a mixtape titled He's the King...I'm the DJ in honor of the late entertainer Michael Jackson. Townes was featured in the video game DJ Hero as a playable character. He also has some original mixes in the game.[7]

In 2010, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Mick (formerly known as Mick Boogie) teamed up to release the Summertime mix-tape series. The mixes are released every summer.

In 2013, DJ Jazzy Jeff performed with Will Smith on the Graham Norton Show.[8] Also that same year, DJ Jazzy Jeff released Vinyl Destination,[9] a web series documenting his hundred plus DJ shows from all around the world.

In 2015, he performed the scratch overdubs for the film Straight Outta Compton.[10]


Solo work as DJ Jazzy Jeff[edit]

  • Unreleased album from Sony Records (1998)
  • One cut in Battle of DJs
  • The Magnificent (2002)
  • Soulheaven Presents Jazzy Jeff in the House (2004)
  • Hip-Hop Forever II (Rapster Records) (2004)
  • The Soul Mixtape (Groovin' Records USA) (2005)
  • Hip-Hop Forever III (BBE Records) (2006)
  • The Return of The Magnificent EP (2007)
  • The Return of the Magnificent (2007) #55 US (Gold)
  • The Return of Hip Hop EP (2007)
  • House of Tribes (T's Box) (2009)
  • My Faves Volume 1 (mixtape) (2009)
  • DJ Jazzy Jeff presents: Jeff's in the House Vol. 1 (mixtape) (2010)
  • What Happens in Vegas (mixtape) (2011)
  • LRG Life Colors (mixtape) (2012)

As DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince[edit]


  • 1991: "Deep, Deep, Trouble" with Bart Simpson; and the remixes from The Simpsons Sing the Blues
  • 1997: Jazzy Jeff's Theme; from the album Nuyorican Soul
  • 1998: "When To Stand Up" featuring Eminem
  • 1998: I Don't Know by Slum Village (scratches); from the album Fantastic, Vol. 2
  • 1999: The Next Movement by The Roots (scratches); from the album Things Fall Apart
  • 2004: Mirrorball (DJ Jazzy Jeff Full Sole Remix) by Everything But The Girl; from Adapt or Die: 10 Years of Remixes
  • 2005: Papa Was A Rollin' Stone (DJ Jazzy Jeff & Pete Kuzma Solefull Mix) by the Temptations; from Motown Remixed.
  • 2005: Lost & Found by Will Smith; produced intro song Here He Comes and several DJ scratches on several tracks
  • 2005: Watch Me by Little Brother (scratches); from the album The Minstrel Show
  • 2006: Feel It (Jazzy Jeff Soulful Remix) by the Black Eyed Peas; from Renegotiations: The Remixes
  • 2006: Night in Tunisia (DJ Jazzy Jeff Remix) by Duke Jordan
  • 2006: Oddissee Foot in The Door mixed by DJ Jazzy Jeff
  • 2007: NY Weather Report by Talib Kweli (scratches); from the album Eardrum
  • 2007: Made a cameo appearance in Jill Scott's music video "A Long Walk"
  • 2008: Get Busy by The Roots (scratches); from the album Rising Down
  • 2008: Bring It Back by Rhymefest (producer); from the album El Che
  • 2009: Prince in Training by MaC Renegade Hosted by DJ Jazzy Jeff
  • 2009: Stay This Way (Jazzy Jeff Remix) by Peter Bjorn and John featuring Big Pooh, Chaundon, and Phil Nash from the mixtape Re-Living Thing with Mick Boogie
  • 2010: DJ Jazzy Jeff & Mick Summertime
  • 2011: DJ Jazzy Jeff & Ayah "Back for More"
  • 2011: DJ Jazzy Jeff & Mick Summertime
  • 2011: "Shorti Bomb" DJ Sat-One, Chief Kamachi & DJ Jazzy Jeff
  • 2011: Mayer Hawthorne "No Strings" DJ Jazzy Jeff Roller Boogie Remix
  • 2012: DJ Jazzy Jeff & Mick Summertime
  • 2012: 92 Til Infinity with Mac Miller
  • 2012: Girl of My Life by Mint Condition (scratches); from the album Music @ the Speed of Life.
  • 2013: DJ Jazzy Jeff & Mick Summertime
  • 2013: Classic by Shad (rapper) (co-production with Skratch Bastid); from the EP The Spring Up
  • 2013: Boardwalk Empire "Red Hot Flow From Kokomo" (DJ Jazzy Jeff Remix)
  • 2013: Moonchild "Be Free" DJ Jazzy Jeff & James Poyser Remix
  • 2014: DJ Jazzy Jeff & Mick Summertime Vol. 5 (mixtape)
  • 2014: DJ Vice "World is Out Playground" (DJ Jazzy Jeff Remix)
  • 2014: Terry Hunter featuring Jay Adams "We Are One" (DJ Jazzy Jeff Remix)
  • 2014 Dayne Jordan "Room Test" produced by DJ Jazzy Jeff
  • 2014: Dayne Jordan "All About the Art" produced by DJ Jazzy Jeff and James Poyser
  • 2014: Dayne Jordan "I Want it All" produced by DJ Jazzy Jeff
  • 2014: "Play Dat!" DJ Jazzy Jeff featuring Dayne Jordan
  • 2014: Dayne Jordan "Lost" produced by DJ Jazzy Jeff
  • 2014: Dayne Jordan "Fellow" produced by DJ Jazzy Jeff

Personal life[edit]

DJ Jazzy Jeff graduated from John Bartram High School in Philadelphia in 1982.[11]

Townes has resided in Wilmington, Delaware since 2004.[12]


  1. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 159. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ DJ Jazzy Jeff; Wilder, Chris (2013-03-26). "DJ Jazzy Jeff on the 25th Anniversary of "He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper"". Philadelphia Weekly. Archived from the original on 2013-08-31. 
  3. ^ Kellman, Andy. "DJ Jazzy Jeff". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-01-13. 
  4. ^ Zonyeé, Dominique (July 25, 2014). "DJ Jazzy Jeff Speaks on Winning Hip Hop's First Grammy". BET. Retrieved January 26, 2016. 
  5. ^ Alonso, Bogar (Jul 23, 2013). "Songs of Summer: DJ Jazzy Jeff On 'Summertime' & Why Will Smith Misses Rapping". Retrieved January 26, 2016. 
  6. ^ Huver, Scott; Park, Michael Y. (July 1, 2008). "Will Smith & DJ Jazzy Jeff Reunite for Hancock Premiere". People Magazine. Retrieved January 26, 2016. 
  7. ^ Chester, Nick (July 27, 2009). "DJ Jazzy Jeff gets fresh with DJ Hero". Destructoid. Retrieved January 26, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Fresh Prince pals Will Smith, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Carlton reunite on Graham Norton Show". Metro UK. 25 May 2013. Retrieved January 26, 2016. 
  9. ^ DJ Jazzy Jeff (April 27, 2013). "Vinyl Destination". Retrieved January 24, 2017. 
  10. ^ Brown, Eric Renner (October 7, 2015). "DJ Jazzy Jeff on possible reunion with Will Smith: 'The time is right on so many different levels'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 26, 2016. 
  11. ^ Carter, Kevin L (9 April 1992). "Tuning in to music business: Professionals give some advice to students: Desire, dedication and determination". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. B2. 
  12. ^ Draper, Dominick (19 July 2013). "DJ Jazzy Jeff spins (and lives) in the Diamond State". The News-Journal. Wilmington. p. HR13. 

External links[edit]