Who are you?
Jeffrey Allen Townes aka DJ Jazzy Jeff needs little introduction. An American DJ, record producer and actor famed for his partnership with Will Smith as DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince in addition to being a turntablist at the top of his game. He is credited along with DJs Spinbad and Cash Money for making the ‘Transformer Scratch’ famous.
How it started?
Born in 1965 in Philadelphia, Townes soon gained a reputation as a school and block party DJ. Developing a keen interest in the art of DJing at the age of 10 telling author Paul Stenning, “At summer time block parties I wouldn’t be the one dancing, I sat where the DJ was set up, watching him. Even when I would go to other block parties in other neighborhoods I was still infatuated with the DJ. He was the guy that played music that everyone in the neighborhood loved. You might not have known his face, you might not have known his name but he was the guy that made everyone move.”
Townes took the stage name DJ Jazzy Jeff and was one half of the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Princewith 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.
How it’s going?
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, Raheem DeVaughn, Darius Rucker, Talib Kweli, Floetry, Rhymefest, and many more. Despite separating from Will Smith as a music partner, they remain close friends and occasionally work together.
Catch Jazzy Jeff on Sunday at Moovin 2022.