DJ Jazzy Jeff or simply Jazz, is an American record producer, DJ, actor and comedian who is best known for his friendship and collaboration with Will Smith as DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.
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.
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.” They also won a second Grammy for “Summertime”.
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.
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.
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. Also that same year, DJ Jazzy Jeff released Vinyl Destination, 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.
In August 2017 DJ Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith performed at the livewire festival in Blackpool.