releases April 7, 2019

Sacred Root: Kung Fu Flute & Buddhist Blues

Shakuhachi Unleashed Volume III–the final album in the trilogy!

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.


Virtuosic revelations for solo shakuhachi & Taimu.

The final album of an adventurous 3-album cycle showcasing new repertoire for solo shakuhachi (Zen bamboo flute) and Taimu (bass shakuhachi). Beauty, grit, energy and depth. Featuring original compositions alongside kung fu movie music from Bruce Lee and David Carradine films, actual blues songs from Elmore James and Junior Kimbrough, some Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Primus, Fishbone and more. All meticulously crafted and performed on one of the rarest and most difficult wind instruments: Japanese shakuhachi, the solo, root-end bamboo, earthy flute of Zen Buddhism and its baritone brother, Taimu.

This new 18-track album is the follow-up to 2017’s HOLY FLUTE: Shakuhachi Unleashed Vol. ​I and 2018’s BAMBOO RISING: Shakuhachi Unleashed Vol. II; shakuhachi is the vertical bamboo flute of Japanese Zen Buddhism and it is crafted from the ROOT end of the bamboo.

Breath-powered prowess from Cornelius Boots, 21st century woodwind wizard, bamboo bluesman and hermetic riffologist. Licensed Zen shakuhachi master & award-winning composer. 

Album Release Show

May 18, 2019 – Seventh Avenue Performances SF, CA
Venue website


Recent Performances

World Shakuhachi Competition 2018 – finalist
World Shakuhachi Festival 2018 (London) – performer, lecturer
Sony PlayStation’s E3 2018 Press Conference (LA) – featured soloist
World Bamboo Congress 2018 (Xalapa, Mexico) – performer/presenter

November 2, 2018 Red Poppy Arthouse SF, CA
September 21, 2018 – Old First Church SF, CA
April 15, 2018 – NOHspace (Theater of Yugen) SF, CA
January 12, 2018 
– San Geronimo Valley Community Center


“Green Swampy Water” official music video

E3 Press Conference 2018

“Hymn” live in Berkeley 2013


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Press Reviews of Holy Flute: Shakuhachi Unleashed, Vol. I

“…a whirlwind aural experience.”
SF Weekly

“…an unusual beast – a kind of musical chimera, hard to classify yet fascinating as a result…..One of the most striking features of the album is its virtuosity…anything but a typical album – it is a window onto a personal philosophy, a musical and pictorial game, a strange beast from a planet at the edge of the shakuhachi’s expanding sonic and cultural universe.”
–Joe Browning, European Shakuhachi Society Journal

“This all comes together and is strong enough in inner spirit to blow by any label of novelty record and stand out as a sparse and intriguing work.”
–David Hintz, FolkWorld

“The momentum and sound textures on this album are amazing and inspiring….I felt very engaged with these songs; it’s a great listening experience. Their compelling melodies, expressiveness, and force are all accentuated by stunning playing, which embraces a wide range of dynamics and texture and powerful rhythms. What comes through to me is a reverence for all of life, and the potent sounds of breath meeting bamboo.”
–Sue Shockey, Overtones: The World Flute Society Journal

“Holy Flute is about the strangest thing I have ever heard in my life.  For the nexus fans of Bill’s flute (The eponymous anti-hero of Kill Bill as portrayed by David Carradine), Symphonic anything, and classic metal…This album is for all 17 of you!  But hear it and discover its secrets. It’s a big job, but hard things are the only ones worth doing.”
–Nik Cameron, Glacially Musical