Jazz on a Sunday Night - Valvona & Crolla

I had a really calming and soothing Sunday night.

Firstly, I went for an impulsive walk around the art exhibition in St Andrews Square in the evening (because it is a light display - which I will write about later) and then, to my surprise, Valvona & Crolla 'VinCaffe' on Multrees Walk was still open...

It was deserted apart from one small group in the corner, and the waitress behind the bar looked thoroughly bored - but she quickly informed us that there was "Jazz music upstairs"...

After obsessing briefly over all the beautiful little Italian deli things for sale - all packaged exquisitely, all smelling amazing, all reminding me of summers past - and before I could go and spend my entire savings in there, we tentatively made our way up the stairs, the music growing louder...

I thought at first that perhaps it was just jazz music merely being played over the loud speakers - so professional sounding it was. It was far busier and lively up here, and a friendly waitress showed us to a table, situated right next to a live jazz band.

It was heaven for me. Almost all of my favourite things in one place. 

Coffee, Italian cakes and alcoholic drinks, jazz music, beautiful interior design.

It turns out that they have live jazz every Sunday evening and tonight it was 'Dick Lees's Swingtet with Ali Affleck' - and they were really really great. The main vocalist had a smooth, pure voice, almost reminiscent of a 1940's classic tone - and caught my eye with her enviable firey mane of scarlet hair. The rest of the band included exceptional improvised solos and set the ambience perfectly. 

My parents said that they thought that they looked more like "music teachers on their day-off" - but, although this may well have been true, I felt it was unfair. They were clearly full of passion and love for the music that they were playing and added a touch of class to the evening.

As I sipped my cappuccino and surreptitiously took photos of the surroundings, I realised that I had almost forgotten what a good coffee tasted like. This one was rich and full of flavour just like it should be.

Next Sunday is an accordion /clarinet duo (which I may bring a visiting Dutch friend to), and the week after that, the Swingtet are back again. 

Valvona & Crolla are celebrating 80 years of business (first opening in 1934) and the family seem to have branched out into various other culinary ventures in Scotland.

I always find it interesting that Scotland has such a strong link to Italy, for a variety of reasons - and find that it enhances the rich tapestry of life that goes on in Edinburgh, making it the vibrant city that it is.


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