Shakuhachi Session Work

Cornelius Boots recording session for Ghost in the Shell 2013

Skills and Sounds

All keys and sizes of bamboo shakuhachi, with a strong tendency towards the low end as opposed to the high.  Specializing in vocal-style expressive solo roles as well as texture-based accompaniment, bass duties, colors and sound effects.  Offering one-of-a-kind glowing and gritty sounds and circular breathing (droning or pulsing) as well as composing/arranging, improvising and overdubbing abilities.  Conversant in formal classical, jazz, blues, rock, improvisational, experimental and nature-spirit-intuitive approaches, in addition to a mild familiarity with the Tom Waits “hair-on-fire” and “play-by-color” systems as well as the David Lynch “huge chunks of plastic” method.  Fluid in Western 5-line notation, transposition, all methods of music theory-based verbal communication, by-ear transcription/song-part learning.

Kagyraa and Tibetan Gyuto/Gyume throat singing (false vocal-fold simultaneous octave, bringing in the octave below the main pitch being sung) is also available, specializing in the very low drones, with over an octave range from low Eb2(+Eb1) up to E3(+E2).


In addition to earning a Bachelors of Music in Classical Clarinet Performance (’97) and a Jazz Studies Master of Music (’99), Boots also completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Audio Recording (’97) from the prestigious Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.  He has also performed extensively since 1987 in rock, funk, jazz, chamber and experimental ensembles that required live sound and long, long hours in the recording studio.  Working dozens of isolated sessions as well a completing over 20 albums as a leader and many more as a sideman, these hundreds of hours of tracking, editing, producing and running live sound have contributed significantly to his value in all scenarios involving recording and amplification.  After a 30-year career performing, recordings, composing and teaching on all single-reeds and flutes (specializing in bass clarinet, bari sax, contrabass clarinet, clarinet, alto sax, flute and bamboo flutes) Boots only plays bamboo flutes with no keys, having 12 shakuhachi and 3 transverse “staff” flutes, but carries all the musicality of the reeds over to the bamboo.  It all comes down to experience, presence, technique, rhythmic integrity and breathing prowess.

To license an existing composition or recording, to request specific session work, or to commission a new composition, write to cb [at] corneliusboots [dot] com.

Selected Films & Albums

Types of Projects







Hey thanks CB! Your playing made this shine as usual.

Jesse Clark, film composer and percussionist, Agents del Futuro

He’s not just an amazing musician, he’s like a mystic with a tube in his face.

Maurizio Benazzo, Co-founder, Science and Nonduality

have never so clearly felt the pure internal power of unamplified sound. Cornelius’ flutes are a revelation of the inner life of breath and an antidote to a world gone mad and breathless.

Nils Frykdahl, Composer-Performer, Faun Fables, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Free Salamander Exhibit

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