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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.

Customer Reviews

Disagree with the "Album Review"

I heard this on 7/8/2008 during an interview on NPR and was completely drawn in to the serenity, peacefulness, sensuality, and breath that you hear in the music. Its elegant, beautiful - its unlike anything heard before. The combination of the American jazz classics played by the bamboo flute is wonderful. You may not drive to this music, but you will play it at home, while in the tub, while cooking, while relaxing - soaking in the notes. Its a great listen.

Relaxing in a time of stress

This is a gutsy attempt at playing jazz on such an unorthodox instrument. But is this not the beauty of jazz? Introducing new cultures and blending them with our greatest contribution to the world speaks volumes to me in these shaky times of world instability.


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...
Full Bio
Steps, Deepak Ram
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