A dynamic solo presentation from a master of jinashi Zen bamboo flutes ranging from virtuosic and energetic to meditative and subtle.
Cornelius Boots – solo shakuhachi and Taimu (bass shakuhachi)
A dynamic presentation from local woodwind iconoclast and composer-performer Cornelius Boots focusing on his fearlessly creative evolution on the holy ghost of woodwinds, shakuhachi — the ancient flute of Japanese Zen. The gospel-infused, bass flute heavy program will feature selections from a vast and growing solo repertoire ranging from virtuosic and energetic to meditative and subtle: original compositions, traditional Zen nature hymns, Coltrane, Black Sabbath, new blues and a brand new Eric Dolphy tribute to honor his 92nd birthday and commemorate the 56th anniversary of his death (June 20, 1928 – June 29, 1964).
Shakuhachi–the root-end bamboo, vertical flute of Zen Buddhism–is like a talisman from feudal Japan. Legends of spies, monks and samurai abound in its colorful origins, yet its basic 5-hole, no-mouthpiece design strongly echoes an even more distant time of prehistoric bone flutes. Oddly, it is this same stripped-down, no-frills design that allows the shakuhachi’s dynamic adaptation into modern and forward-leaning music. Jinashi (100% bamboo) shakuhachi and low-pitched, wide-bore variants (Taimu, hocchiku, kyotaku) add more depth, texture, mystery and nature-connection than the highly lacquered, brighter court music flutes that became more common as “shakuhachi” in the 20th century.
“exuberant … a natural anxiety demolisher” Paste Magazine
“far left of center–beyond category” Ari Herstand, author of How to Make It in the New Music Business
Founder/composer of Black Earth Shakuhachi School, Cornelius Boots has forged his own eclectic style as a professional woodwind performer since 1989. A three-time graduate of Jacobs School of Music (BM Classical Clarinet ’97, BS Audio Recording ’97, MM Jazz Studies ’99) and licensed shihan (master) in the dynamic shakuhachi lineage of Watazumido. First Prize winner of the 2013 International Clarinet Composition Competition, Boots has also received commissions and awards from Chamber Music America, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Areon Flutes, International Songwriting Competition and Meet the Composer and performed at concerts and festivals in Montreux, Chicago, Assisi, Prague, Tokyo, Karasuyama, and Quebec.
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). In 2019, Boots started up the Heavy Roots Shakuhachi Ensemble, the world’s first bass shakuhachi group, debuting at SF Music Day. As a series curator at the Center for New Music in San Francisco, Boots will be collaborating with other deep woodwind soloists and innovators in 2020 and 2021.
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 as he continues to create new repertoire for his instruments.