Jeffrey Allen Townes (born January 22, 1965), known professionally as 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.
Early life and career beginnings
Jeffrey Allen Townes was born on January 22, 1965 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Early on, he developed a reputation and a following as a school and Block party DJ.
He was ten years old when he first became interested in being a DJ. He told author Paul Stenning, "At summer time block parties I wouldn't be the one dancing, I was 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."
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.
One of the first records DJ 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."
At the time of winning the Grammy Award DJ Jazzy Jeff came home crying as he had just $500 in the bank.
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 "Summertime: The Mixtape" 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. He also appeared as the lead interview in Paul Stenning's book, Success - By Those Who've Made It.
In 2015, he performed the scratch overdubs for the film Straight Outta Compton.
In August 2017, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Will Smith performed 2 shows in Europe: MTV Summerblast Music Festival in Croatia and Livewire festival in Blackpool. 
Solo work as DJ Jazzy Jeff
- 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)
- M3 (album) (2018)
As DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince
- 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: Summertime: The Mixtape Vol. 1 by DJ Jazzy Jeff & MICK
- 2011: DJ Jazzy Jeff & Ayah "Back for More"
- 2011: Summertime: The Mixtape Vol. 2 by DJ Jazzy Jeff & MICK
- 2011: "Shorti Bomb" DJ Sat-One, Chief Kamachi & DJ Jazzy Jeff
- 2011: "No Strings" DJ Jazzy Jeff Roller Boogie Remix by Mayer Hawthorne
- 2012: Summertime: The Mixtape Vol. 3 by DJ Jazzy Jeff & MICK
- 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: Summertime: The Mixtape Vol. 4 by DJ Jazzy Jeff & MICK
- 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: Summertime: The Mixtape Vol. 5 by DJ Jazzy Jeff & MICK
- 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" (Producer)
- 2014: All About the Art by Dayne Jordan (Producer w/ James Poyser)
- 2014: I Want it All by Dayne Jordan (Producer)
- 2014: Play Dat! by DJ Jazzy Jeff featuring Dayne Jordan
- 2014: Lost by Dayne Jordan (Producer)
- 2014: Fellow by Dayne Jordan (Producer)
- 2015: Summertime: The Mixtape Vol. 6 by DJ Jazzy Jeff & MICK
- 2016: Summertime: The Mixtape Vol. 7 by DJ Jazzy Jeff & MICK
- 2017: Chasing Goosebumps by The PLAYLIST (Executive Producer)
- 2017: Summertime: The Mixtape Vol. 8 by DJ Jazzy Jeff & MICK
DJ Jazzy Jeff graduated from John Bartram High School in Philadelphia in 1982.
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