Whiskey Jacques’ has long distinguished itself as one of the premier valley hot spots for live music, typically lining up top-class performers at least twice a week. From regional artists to internationally touring acts, Whiskey Jacques’ brings them in.
This Friday, the Ketchum watering hole is going to raise that bar a bit higher with a special performance by iconic, groundbreaking hip-hop musician, turntablist, songwriter, comedian, disc jockey, record producer, actor and all-around artist DJ Jazzy Jeff.
Jazz, as Jeffrey Allen Townes is often known, is probably most widely recognized for his longstanding friendship and collaboration with actor and rapper Will Smith. Together, they recorded and toured throughout the ’80s and ’90s as DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince.
The multi-Grammy-winning duo topped charts with such hits as “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” “Nightmare on My Street” and “Boom, Shake the Room,” to name just a few.
The pair’s meteoric rise to stardom even booked them a popular NBC sitcom, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” which ran from 1990 to 1996. The show garnered an Emmy nomination and two Golden Globe nominations.
Since launching his career in the 1980s, DJ Jazzy Jeff has remained consistently popular and influential both as a recording artist and behind the scenes as a producer. In these capacities he helped to shape the landscape of hip-hop.
The past few decades have been pivotal for the entertainment industry, and Jazz has witnessed all the changes from a prime vantage point.
“The biggest shifts would have to be social media and the internet,” he said. “You have direct access to millions of people instantly to get your art or message out. It’s amazing. What has stayed the same is that the quality of your art matters. There’s no cutting corners to be great. You still have to put in the work.”
Technological advances have altered much of the playing field, but, as the esteemed DJ said, some things will never change, and there is no substitute for hard work.
“My approach has always been the same,” he said about his creative process. “All the tools now make it easier to get music out, but I’m not gonna change my approach until it doesn’t work anymore.”
Any single concert by DJ Jazzy Jeff is intrinsically unlike any other concert he has performed or will perform. As he said himself, “I play all kinds of music and have fun mixing it all together.”
He also said he likes to “take people on a trip that they won’t forget … musically,” and advised that concertgoers “bring comfortable shoes.” Whatever happens, the beats he mixes are sure to inspire dance.
Fans of DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince as a duo will likely recall that 2017 saw a rare reunion for them. When asked if a similar reunion may be in the cards down the line, Jazz very coyly and slyly replied, “Let’s just say it’s gonna be a great year!”
Visitors to and residents of Ketchum should count themselves lucky that his “great year” includes a one-night-only performance at Whiskey Jacques’.
Doors open at Whiskey’s at 9 p.m. on Friday, March 6. Tickets will be sold at the bar the day of the show for $35, but concertgoers can enjoy a $5 discount by purchasing tickets ahead of time online at whiskeyjacques.com.