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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - All that dress-up jazz on again

Last year's costume winners, from left to right: Mike Mahalo – official musician; Chan Saryroth – best-dressed woman; Heritage’s tres-dapper general manager Magnus Olovson; Tan and Alain Brun – best-dressed couple; and David King – best-dressed man. OYEN RODRIGUEZ
Last year's costume winners, from left to right: Mike Mahalo – official musician; Chan Saryroth – best-dressed woman; Heritage’s tres-dapper general manager Magnus Olovson; Tan and Alain Brun – best-dressed couple; and David King – best-dressed man. OYEN RODRIGUEZ

All that dress-up jazz on again

Ladies and gentlemen dust off your zoot suits, pull out your best flapper dress and get your glad rags on – the jazz age is coming to Heritage Suites Hotel on November 28, in celebration of the second anniversary of popular night Jazz in the City.

Following the success of last year’s prohibition era-themed celebration to which 150 guests turned up, the organisers are hoping to see even more gangsters and molls strutting their stuff, puttin’ on the ritz and generally looking the cat’s pyjamas.

Heritage general manager Magnus Olovson says last year’s do was an unparalleled success and, despite it being put together somewhat last-minute, guests still made a huge effort to dress up.

“It was a lot of fun. I’ve never seen such a diverse and varied mix of people,” he says. “We had hotel general managers, NGO representatives, corporate people and then guests from other hotels because of the buzz going around.

“It started for fun, and it’s continuing for fun. It’s fantastic to be able to offer that opportunity to our little community and the locals because we had quite a few Cambodians coming.”

Heritage Suites general manager Magnus Olovson and director of sales and marketing Jam Nsouli at last year's do. OYEN RODRIGUEZ
Heritage Suites general manager Magnus Olovson and director of sales and marketing Jam Nsouli at last year's do. OYEN RODRIGUEZ

Director of sales and marketing Jam Nsouli says the first anniversary party was much talked-about, with so many people asking when the next one would be that they decided to keep the same theme for the second year.

“We’ve kept the 1920s theme because it’s the most classy and most popular theme that fits the jazz and fits the ambience of the hotel,” she says. “1920s is the jazz age, it’s where it all really started. I can’t think of any other theme that would connect so well to what we’re doing here.”

This year the hotel plans to extend the party out of the lobby into the outside area, to accommodate the anticipated number of guests. There will be a second bar set up outside.

Once again, there will be prizes awarded for the best-dressed man, woman and couple.

Last year local businesswoman and Selantra restaurant owner Chan Saryroth took the prize for best-dressed woman, while dapper dandy Artisans Angkor CEO Alain Brun and his wife Tan were awarded best-dressed couple.

“Alain had a moustache drawn on and a tuxedo and Tan had a nice dress on with lots of pearls; they made a good effort together,” says Nsouli.

She adds that many people have already been travelling out of Siem Reap in search of sequins, feather boas and other roaring ’20s accoutrements.

“And now that the film has been released of The Great Gatsby people even are more interested,” she says. “It’s very, very trendy and people now have a better idea of what to look like.”

Every musician who has ever performed at the Heritage jazz nights will be invited to play, and there will be special guests in the form of popular Phnom Penh ska jazz band Jahzad, performing for the first time in Siem Reap. Nsouli is hoping that saxophonist Steve Cadd, who played at the very first Jazz in the City and helped start the whole thing off, will make an appearance.

“For this anniversary we want to have all the musicians who have contributed to the jazz, who have made it popular and kept it alive, so we’re inviting everyone,” says Nsouli. “Alex the trombone player who has been one of our consistent players will put together a program.”

“This year we want to put in a set that reflects the 1920s. The challenging task is to put everything in a nice program that blends in well with all the artists and musicians that are there.”

The set will kick off at 6.30pm finishing at 10.30pm, although with last year’s do carrying on till after 1am, revelers can expect a suitably late finish.

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