Trained in Indian classical music, Hariprasad Chaurasia is a master of the bansuri flute, an instrument made of bamboo. This live album, recorded at a 1999 concert in Amsterdam, has him presenting two pieces, "Raga Jhinjhoti" and "Folktune." The former, an evening raga, is a gorgeously developed piece, beginning with the alaap (or improvisation), which allows him to not only set the mood, but to show his technique and style before embarking on the long (43-minute) journey of the raga itself. While the form of the music is fairly rigid, there are also chances for expression and experimentation, and Chaurasia manages them with exquisite grace while the tanpura maintains a soft drone in the background. The flute might be one of the most difficult instruments upon which to play Indian classical music, which is demanding of both player and listener, but his ability transcends and captivates the listener with a remarkable tone and style throughout. Much the same is true of "Folktune," a traditional piece from the Himalayas, given a joyful rendition. The pace is sedate, but there's an undeniable glee in the playing, and when the tabla enters to provide some wonderful rhythm, the piece takes off. For the sound of a master flutist at work, this is a record that's hard to beat.
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AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson