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 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 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.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)
Rock the House (1987) #83 US (Gold); #97 UK
He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper (1988) #4 US (3x Platinum); #68 UK
And in This Corner… (1989) #39 US (Gold)
Homebase (1991) #12 US (Platinum); #69 UK
Code Red (1993) #64 US (Gold); #50 UK
Greatest Hits (1998) #144 US, #20 UK
Before The Willennium (1999)
The Very Best of D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (2006)
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: DJ Jazzy Jeff & Mick Summertime
2011: DJ Jazzy Jeff & Ayah "Back for More"
2011: DJ Jazzy Jeff & Mick Summertime
2011: "Shorti Bomb" DJ Sat-One, Chief Kamachi & DJ Jazzy Jeff
2011: Mayer Hawthorne "No Strings" DJ Jazzy Jeff Roller Boogie Remix
2012: DJ Jazzy Jeff & Mick Summertime
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: DJ Jazzy Jeff & Mick Summertime
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: DJ Jazzy Jeff & Mick Summertime Vol. 5 (mixtape)
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" produced by DJ Jazzy Jeff
2014: Dayne Jordan "All About the Art" produced by DJ Jazzy Jeff and James Poyser
2014: Dayne Jordan "I Want it All" produced by DJ Jazzy Jeff
2014: "Play Dat!" DJ Jazzy Jeff featuring Dayne Jordan
2014: Dayne Jordan "Lost" produced by DJ Jazzy Jeff
2014: Dayne Jordan "Fellow" produced by DJ Jazzy Jeff
DJ Jazzy Jeff graduated from John Bartram High School in Philadelphia in 1982.
Townes has resided in Wilmington, Delaware since 2004.