Heavy Zen Flute & Bamboo Gospel
Original compositions and improvisations emerging from a lifetime of woodwinding, and 18 years of studying and creating new repertoire for an ancient instrument of extremely basic design: shakuhachi. Shakuhachi—the root-end bamboo, vertical flute of Zen Buddhism—is like a talisman from feudal Japan, or an early hominid artifact. No mouthpiece, no keys or parts, 5 finger holes. In the right hands, it is a 100% breath-powered musical force of nature and has a soulful voice and musical versatility, allowing it to delve into blues, jazz, rock, classical and avant garde realms just as fluidly as it plays traditional Zen nature hymns and kung fu movie theme music. Virtuosic, energetic, meditative and subtle, this concert features solo performances on a range of root-end bamboo flute sizes—from “standard” (shakuhachi) to bass (Taimu) to giantess—as well as some group explorations and special guests.
Cornelius Boots – shakuhachi & Taimu
Special Guests – Kevin Chen, Taimu; Chris Adkins, Taimu; Stikman, harmonica; Nils Frykdahl, flutes; Others, TBA
Cornelius Boots is a relentlessly innovative composer-performer, living in the woods north of San Francisco. Active internationally since 1990, Boots is “exuberant … a natural anxiety demolisher” (Paste Magazine) and “far left of center–beyond category” (Ari Herstand, author of “How to Make It in the New Music Business.”) He is a master of lost techniques and a licensed shihan (master) in the dynamic Zen lineage of Watazumido. His breath-defying compositions weave together threads from rock, blues, heavy metal and the traditional Zen repertoire, honkyoku. 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).
A three-time graduate of the renowned Jacobs School of Music (BM Classical Clarinet ’97, BS Audio Recording ’97, MM Jazz Studies ’99), 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. 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. 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, multi-stylistic solo style for jinashi (100% bamboo) and wide-bore (bass/Taimu) shakuhachi.