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Jazzy Jeff: 'Showmanship is important... but it's not everything'

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Jazzy Jeff is one of the world's most in demand DJs, which is why he's the perfect addition to the Red Bull Thre3style judging panel. 'I’ve probably been to all the countries who are competing, and I’ll probably go to all of them again between now and Christmas!' he says.
 
Here he reveals what he'll be keeping an eye out for when the eighteen of the world's best party starters go head to head in Chicago this week.
 
What makes a good party rocker?
Someone that keeps a good flow of energy and understands that it kinda goes up and goes down and goes up… but doesn’t let it go too far down, and kinda keeps it consistent and makes sure there are not really any lulls in the set. These guys are playing for a short period of time – they have to take people on a very quick journey, but make it very entertaining.  
 
If they find as they get in to their set that their tracklisting isn’t working, would you suggest they throw caution to the wind and just improvise?
I kind of feel mixed on that. I respect DJs that pick a direction, and as the end of the day, as a DJ your job is to educate and teach the crowd. So I don’t think that if you pick a direction and it’s bombing completely out you should abort and go to the go-to record, you almost need to make them believe that you’re right and they’re wrong – but not at the cost of throwing it all down the tube.
 
How important is showmanship when it comes to a DJ battle like Red Bull Thre3style?
Showmanship is important but it isn’t necessarily everything. Some of the battles I’ve judged, I’ve seen people who were horrible but had great showmanship, but then I’ve seen other guys who have stood up there like a log and gave some of the best sets I’ve ever seen.  I think it’s important but it’s not the most important thing, you have to look at it that not everybody in the back of the club will be able to see your showmanship.
 
Have you checked out any of the National Finals sets on the Thre3style Mixcloud page?
I’ve not listened to any of the sets as I want to be completely surprised when I see all of the contestants.
 
What excites you the most about Red Bull Thre3style?
I judged when the guy from France won, and I always find it very interesting that you get a little bit of similarities between competitors as the music is global, but you always get a little taste of where someone is from and what they’re in to, and I’m always interested about that. I like listening to them as it’s not only great entertainment but it’s also educational for me seeing what other people are in to and what they’re doing.  
 
Are you excited about World Finals week?
Chicago is probably one of my favourite cities, I’ve got so many friends and family there. I’m really looking forwards to the World Finals week. It’s an amazing city filled with a whole great bunch of music, some great records stores, a lot of music history and I definitely think the contestants should take some time to enjoy Chicago. As much as this is a competition this is a time that they should soak up all the flavour that Chicago has, some of the most amazing food  and sights and music, it’s going to be a great week, I’m looking forward to it.

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