I’ve spent 30-odd years immersed in music. My tastes are eclectic, ranging from the jazz of Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, to the jazz-rock of Chick Corea and Billy Cobham, to the Latin jazz of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Astrud Gilberto. I’m also fascinated by Carnatic music, Hindustani classical music, classic rock, folk and pop.

Providence played its part in helping me discover the flute in my college days. I am blessed to have discovered the concert flute, which allows me to play in the jazz idiom as well as the Indian classical one. My goal is to keep polishing my tone, improve my technique and refine my expression. I guess this will go on till there’s not enough breath left in my body to blow my flute.

Since I am largely self taught and play by ear, I have learned best by listening to and emulating many great flautists. Here’s a list of my favourite flute legends.

Joe Farrell

Joe Farell was the principal flautist of keyboardist Chick Corea’s seminal bands of the 1970s. His solo on the launch version of "Spain" was absolutely stunning in its melodic content and simplicity, as was his work on the Chick Corea album Friends.

Hubert Laws

Tone and technique. These are the two gods that characterised Hubert Laws’ flute playing. I still wince when I hear his complicated jazz solos, making it sound so easy and so horn-like.

Dave Valentin

The guru of Latin-influenced flute playing, with many, many contemporary versions of classic tunes. He has a lovely tone, great expression and likes to go off the wall often, using his instrument as a percussive reed.

Ian Anderson

Anybody who grew up in the classic rock age is a fan of the leader of the cult band Jethro Tull, who wowed us with his nasal singing into the microphone, and yes into the flute. I learned a lot about "overblowing" techniques, and about "spitting" and "snarling" into the flute by listening to him.

Harisprasad Chaurasia

The divine sound of the flute is brought to earth by only Hariprasadji. I call him God’s own flautist. All this is delivered through flawless technique and subtle expression, honed over decades of performance and riyaz.

Through all these years, I’ve been seeking a personal sound. A sound that pays tribute to the enormous influence all these musicians have had on my life and music, and yet a sound which I can call my own. A sound that does not pay mindless obeisance to the Muse of technical virtuosity, but seeks out the Muse of feeling, expression and emotion.

I’m happy to say that it seems to have come together in Cosmic Chant, my maiden album, and that of the band Rajeev Raja Combine. I like to think of the compositions representing an organic whole, rather than a fusion of jumbled-up elements.

Cosmic Chant

I’ve always been fascinated by the harmonic minor scale and its use in flamenco music, and have wondered if there was a way to bring Spain and India together musically. The harmonic minor scale showed me the way.

"Cosmic Chant" is a tribute to flamenco and also a recognition that flamenco and Hindustani classical music are first cousins. The tune attempts to evoke the mystical, exotic nature of things and the true universality of music.


This is one of my oldest compositions and is based on raag Hamsadvani, which evokes dawn, happiness and nature at its pristine best. This is my contribution to a world increasingly in need of love and peace.

Listen to these classics as a single playlist here on our YouTube channel.