Pianist John Toomey’s Refraction is a lesson in economy. Funded by Norfolk’s Old Virginia University, where Toomey currently serves as professor of music, and recorded live-to-tape in a Virginia Beach studio on a shoestring budget, it sounds as full, rich and polished as any spare-no-cost production out of New York or L.A. There’s also the economy of the Toomey sound: smooth, lean and refreshingly free of self-indulgent flourishes. Working in tandem with drummer Howard Curtis and bass player Jimmy Masters, he tempers the joyous spirit of Vince Guaraldi with a dash of Jamal edginess on a dozen original compositions. As evocative as it is enjoyable, Refraction is a much too hidden treasure.
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