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Album Review

There's no doubting the technical ability of Deepak Ram on the Indian bansuri flute, nor of the musicians surrounding him here (Vic Juris, on guitar, is a standout on every solo he takes, especially on the spare "Madiba's Dance"). Nor is he afraid of a little adventure, and taking his instrument into the uncharted waters of jazz, both standards and his own compositions. The pieces are all there, but somehow it just doesn't gel. It's as if everyone's playing but not for each other, but for themselves, and there's little sense of warmth generated by the music; in fact, it comes across as oddly sterile. That's a shame, since it's hard to actually fault any of the performances. But the music never draws the listener in. Even a classic like "Summertime" is oddly passionless. Nonetheless, this is a brave experiment, and anyone interested in the possibilities of the bansuri in the hands of a master should listen. Sadly, though, it probably won't be something you'll play regularly for pleasure.


Born: 1960 in Johannesburg, South Africa

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

b. 1960, Johannesburg, South Africa. An Indian flautist, Ram first began to explore the links between jazz and Indian musical improvisation while jamming with his brothers as a teenager. He travelled to India for the first time aged 17, studying under the famous flute maker Shri Suryakant Limaye, who bequeathed Ram his collection of flutes upon his death in 1986. Returning to India aged 21, he became a disciple of Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, with whom he composed and performed. In 1986 Ram was awarded...
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Steps, Deepak Ram
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