Monday, March 29, 2010

A Touch of Jazz

Many of you may know that the magnificent DJ Jazzy Jeff is one of my all time favorite DJs. Hailing from Philly and the champion of the 1986 New Music Seminar DJ Battle. This is also where the Hip-Hop nation got it's first taste of a new style of scratching called "transforming" from this veteran turntablist. The term stems from the sounds the robots made when they transformed from the form of vehicles on the popular cartoon series the Transformers that was popular in the 80's.

1986 also brought about Jeff's first studio album recorded with the Fresh Prince (Will Smith) titled Rock The House. This album contained one of the few songs that solely featured a DJ showcasing turntablism. "A Touch of Jazz" is considered by Hip-Hop enthusiasts as a classic and is also the name of Jeff's production company that's responsible for the music behind a few notable R&B and Hip-Hop acts.

The foundation of many Hip-Hop tracks contain elements of music done by other artists that a DJ or producer uses in the art known as "sampling", who some are now considering to be the "5th element" in Hip-Hop. This will be the first of many installations of break downs of Hip-Hop records that have multiple samples.

A Touch of Jazz displays why Jeffery Towns is deserving of the name DJ Jazzy Jeff. Pay him a visit at

Produced by Marvin Gaye for the Trouble Man movie and motion picture soundtrack on Motown-subsidiary label Tamla Records in 1972.

Both "Change" and "Places & Spaces" are from Donald Byrd's Places and Spaces album released on Blue Note Records in 1975, and was produced by the Mizell brothers.

A dash of Texas heat from flautist Bobbi Humphrey off her Blacks and Blues album released in 1973 on Blue Note Records.

"Mister Magic" is fitting for the late saxophonist Grover Washington Jr. This is the title cut from the album Mister Magic released on Kudu Records in 1974 and produced by Bob James.

Bob James' Three is a Creed Taylor produced album released on CTI Records in 1976 that includes "Westchester Lady".

This is by far one of the most sampled records in Hip-Hop history, especially by many DJs who engage in turntablism. At the very end of this song you will hear the classic phrase..."Ahhhh....this stuff is really fresh!"

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