DJ Jazzy Jeff
Producer, turntablist, cultural icon – Jazzy Jeff revisits more than two decades of hip hop in Philly and beyond.
Jeff Townes aka DJ Jazzy Jeff, was born in West Philadelphia to a very musical household. He was just 10 years old when he started spinning records, using his family’s basement as a testing ground for his mixing techniques. After cutting his teeth around Philly’s block parties where the competition was ruthless, he quickly made a name for himself with his natural flair for cutting and scratching. But it wasn’t until he spun at a party on Will Smith’s mum’s block that Jeff met his comrade in arms and long-standing musical partner. Their debut LP Rock The House was mostly made in Jeff’s basement, but that still didn’t stop their blend of party jams, goofy humour, and adolescent narratives from striking a chord from Philly to Jersey to DC and New York. It didn’t prepare the duo for what was to follow however, as their second LP He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper scooped them a Grammy Award, before nationwide fame arrived with their TV comedy show ‘The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air’. Displaying the kind of community vision that has since defined Jeff as a true cultural icon, he created the production company A Touch Of Jazz, and helped a raft of Philly musicians achieve critical and commercial acclaim, among them James Poyser, Musiq Soulchild, Vikter Duplaix, and Jill Scott. Jeff is one of those pioneers that appreciate the lineage of great DJs, from Grand Wizard Theodore to Q-Bert, acknowledging his position with humility, passion and respect for the art form and culture. From working with greats like Roy Ayers and Questlove, to newcomers like Ayah and Mac Miller, Jeff’s creative energy and boundless enthusiasm is infectious.