Cornelius Boots – solo shakuhachi
master, composer, innovator
“exuberant … natural anxiety demolisher”
–Paste Magazine, Oktay Ege Kozak
“far left of center–beyond category”
–Ari Herstand, author of “How to Make It in the New Music Business”
Cornelius Boots is a licensed Zen shakuhachi master & award-winning composer; a 21st century woodwind wizard, bamboo bluesman and hermetic riffologist. A professional woodwind specialist since 1989, Cornelius Boots is the only performer in the world creating new, soulful and virtuosic solo compositions for jinashi (100% bamboo) and wide-bore (bass/Taimu) shakuhachi—the rare, difficult, end-blown, root-end bamboo flute of Japanese Zen Buddhism.
His breath-defying compositions weave together threads from rock, blues, heavy metal and the tradition repertoire, honkyoku. Also known as the Jimi Hendrix of bamboo, Boots is a master of lost techniques and a licensed shihan (master) in the dynamic Zen lineage of Watazumido. In 2018, he was a finalist in the World Shakuhachi Competition, a featured performer for Sony PlayStation’s E3 press conference (LA) and a featured performer/lecturer at both the World Bamboo Congress (Xalapa, Mexico) and the World Shakuhachi Festival (London).
Boots’ experience as a jazz saxophonist, orchestral clarinetist, funk bandleader and founder/composer of the renowned bass clarinet quartet Edmund Welles have made him a sought after composer and collaborator for bold woodwind soloists, rock and chamber groups. With his latest three albums, the Shakuhachi Unleashed series—Holy Flute (2017), Bamboo Rising (2018), and Sacred Root (2019)—Cornelius continues to develop “bamboo gospel,” a robust, cross-cultural, polystylistic solo style. This new repertoire numbers 74 compositions/arrangements and counting.
Currently establishing a shakuhachi school that merges the lineages of Watazumi and John Coltrane, Boots is also a top graduate of both the classical clarinet and jazz studies departments of the famed Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana where he earned his Masters degree and Performer’s Certificate in jazz studies, composing/arranging and woodwind performance from David N. Baker.