Saturday, January 14, 2012

Jazz comes to the Lex

Arne Fogel by John Whiting
Heavy double doors open to a world of dark wood, beamed ceilings, classic food and cocktails (including ice cream drinks--Pink Cadillac, anyone?).

Founded in 1935, frozen in time, the Lexington Restaurant has had just three owners in its long and storied history. It's a St. Paul tradition, the place to go for important lunches and dinners, family events, meetings, celebrations, receptions, reunions, wakes, to talk politics, to see and be seen. And now, to hear live jazz.

If anyplace cries out for the Great American Songbook, it's the Lex, especially its elegant Williamsburg Room. Period light fixtures, handcrafted cherry woodwork and beams, serpentine bar, stained glass windows, grand piano. Make mine a Manhattan, no bitters, while someone sings "Cheek to Cheek" or "Stardust," "I Fall in Love Too Easily" or "As Time Goes By."

Beginning with two nights in February, moving to twice a week in March, Arne Fogel will curate a new series of vocal jazz performances in the Williamsburg Room, most often accompanied by piano and bass. The music starts at 6:30 p.m. and ends at 10:30.

The schedule so far:

--Saturday, February 4: Arne Fogel with Steve Pikal, bass, and piano TBA
--Tuesday, February 14 (Valentine's Day): Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson with Rick Carlson and Steve Pikal
--Every Thursday and Saturday beginning in March. March 1 and 3: Maud Hixson. March 15 and 17: Arne Fogel. March 22 and 24: Patty Peterson.

Others TBA. He'll be mixing it up, but the Great American Songbook will be the core of the program.

"The new owners of the Lexington want the ambience and sophistication that comes with those great songs and that great music," Fogel said. "And the Williamsburg is not a TV room. Thank God for that."

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