Introducing Princeton Parker Plays: bringing jazz dancefloors back to Sydney

Sydney is no New Orleans or South London, but that hardly means there aren’t some local forces of nature keeping the jazz candle burning. One ensemble making some undeniably cool noise recently is Princeton Parker Plays.

A splinter group of jazz musicians derived from the larger End Notes collective who have been nailing residencies and one-off shows for the last four years, the Princeton Parker Plays lineup shifts with each appearance. Before they play our Bay Sounds gig this Sunday, we caught up to take five.

introducing princeton parker plays happy mag end notes
Photo: Megan J Donnelly

Jazz is alive and well in Sydney with Princeton Parker Plays, one branch of the End Notes collective swinging their way through the city’s cosiest venues.

According to the band, stylistically Princeton Parker Plays represent a “cross-pollination of instrumental, improvised jazz/neo-soul/heavy dance floor grooves drawing inspiration from Afro-Latin sounds coming out of South London.”

“The band is made up of members of the wider End Notes collective coming out of the monthly residencies at Cake Wines Cellar Door, Mary’s Underground and Yulli’s Brews over the last four years.”

Their shows have an energy; the Princeton Parker Plays sound is based on groove and getting people moving, and for their trouble they’ve been booked on some of the most highly-envied jazz nights in Sydney. One was, of course, the closing party at the aforementioned Cake Wines Cellar Door.

“Playing our last and 38th show to a sardine-packed Cake Wines in Redfern on the last night before it closed will always be close to the heart, but putting together a 12-piece New Orleans-inspired lineup for a huge 90-minute set at Southern Sounds at Commune in December 2018 as well as our last show of the Mary’s Underground residency at the start of this month were both really special nights.” 

“With Bay Sounds and a headline slot at the Boogieman’s Ball at the Factory Theatre coming up in March, who’s to say there might be a couple to add to the list!”

Expect an hour of pure Princeton Parker goodness at this weekend’s upcoming Bay Sounds, a daytime session at The Golden Sheaf in Double Bay. They’ll be playing post-afternoon DJ sets and pre-performances from Hedy Lamarr, Vast Hill, Pyjama Sundayz, Sunscreen, and Philadelphia Grand Jury.

The Bay Sounds lineup will feature Sam Weeks (tenor), Ben Herlihy (trombone), Dave Allen (keys/synths), Ben Forte (guitar), William Lyons (drums) and Edward Lyons (bass/leader), along with a couple of special guests. As for what else is coming up, Princeton Parker Plays are looking forward to another big, big year.

“[We’re] on the lookout for a new venue to launch a residency, nabbing some support slots for a bunch of touring influences, and locking in some recording!”

Catch Princeton Parker Plays at Bay Sounds this Sunday:

Bay Sounds: Lineup

Philadelphia Grand Jury
Pyjama Sundayz
Vast Hill
Hedy Lamarr
Princeton Parker Plays
SCABZ (DJ set)
DJ Goodboy
Happy DJs

Sunday 1 March
The Golden Sheaf, Double Bay
12pm – 10pm
Free – RSVP