Jeffrey Allen Townes (born January 22, 1965 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), also known as DJ Jazzy Jeff or simply Jazz, is an American hip hop, R&B record producer, turntablist and actor. He is best known for his early career with Will Smith as DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. DJ Jazzy Jeff attended but did not graduate from John Bartram High School in Philadelphia, where he is enshrined in the school's "Wall of Fame."
DJ Jazzy Jeff is not to be confused with Jeffrey Myree from the earlier hip hop group Funky Four Plus One, who in fact filed and won a lawsuit over the name Jazzy Jeff against Jeff Townes and Jive records when they signed DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince.
Jeffrey Townes was born and raised in Philadelhpia, Pennsylvania. His birthdate is January 22, 1965, and he is currently 46 years old.
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh PrinceEdit
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince consisted of DJ Jazzy Jeff and Will "The Fresh Prince" Smith. The group was together from 1985 to 1998 when the duo broke-up for financial reasons. While both Smith and Townes decided to go solo, the group was remember for 5 selling studio albums during their activity. Ready Rock C was a member of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince from 1985 to 1990, but left the group after 3 albums because he felt the group wasn't giving balanced attention to him, causing him to sue DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, causing the group's later on break-up.
As a duo, they had several gold and platinum-selling albums and singles in the late 1980s and early 1990s, earning them the first rap Grammy ever presented in 1989 for "Parents Just Don't Understand".
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 Jill Scott and Musiq. Even though he separated from Will Smith as a music partner, they are still best friends and still occasionally work together. Some songs by Will Smith were produced by Jeff Townes (ex. Here He Comes), and he has performed on some songs by Will Smith such as "So Fresh" and "Potnas." In addition, he appears in several of Smith's music videos such as "Will2K," "Freakin' It," and "Party Starter." On some occasions, he makes appearances with Smith on live concerts, producing DJ scratches.
He, along with DJ Cash Money, is credited with making the transform scratch famous.
On July 2, 2005, DJ Jazzy Jeff performed with Will Smith at the Live 8 concert in Philadelphia. Moreover, Will acknowledges him in his music like "Comin' To The Stage" from the album Lost & Found or "Potnas" in 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 DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Fest directed by Konee Rok, in which he makes music in his home recording studio with Rhymefest and they reveal that they are working on an album together called "He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper."
In 2008, he performed with past partner Will Smith at the premier of Smith'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.
He is featured in the video-game "DJ Hero" as a playable character. He also has some original mixes in the game.
- The Magnificent (2002)
- Hip-Hop Forever II (2004)
- Hip-Hop Forever III (2006)
- The Return of The Magnificent EP (EP, 2007)
- The Return of the Magnificent (2007) #55 US (Gold)
- The Return of Hip Hop EP (EP, 2007)
- Soulheaven Presents DJ Jazz Jeff in the House (2004)
- The Soul Mixtape (2005)
- He's The King... I'm The DJ (2009)
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh PrinceEdit
- Rock the House (1986) #83 US (Gold)
- He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper (1988) #4 US (3x Platinum)
- And in This Corner… (1989) #39 US (Gold)
- Homebase (1991) #12 US (Platinum)
- Code Red (1993) #64 US (Gold)
- Greatest Hits (1998) #144 US, #20 UK
- Before The Willennium (1999)
- The Very Best of D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (2006)