This solo, earthy concert presentation will feature a “greatest hits” and a thorough introduction to the new repertoire called Bamboo Gospel. Ranging from virtuosic and energetic to meditative and subtle, this music emerges from the breath-laboratory of local woodwind iconoclast and composer-performer Cornelius Boots. An ex-bass clarinet monster, Boots has been focusing his fearlessly creative evolutionary vision on the holy ghost of woodwinds, shakuhachi — the ancient flute of Japanese Zen. Gravitating as usual to the lower members of the instrument family, the Taimu (wide-bore, baritone, Barry White of the shakuhachi world) became the obvious partner in merging the nature-steeped world of Zen monastic music with the roots of Boots’ previous career in advanced jazz performance/composition: old gospel and rural blues.
This concert is a ticketed (pre-sale only), live-streamed event. Pre-sale tickets will be available until 45 minutes before showtime. 30 minutes before showtime, ticket buyers will be sent a private link to the YouTube video of the live-streamed concert.
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. The Heavy Roots received a 2020 Musical Grant Program Award from InterMusic SF for their (in-process) woodwind chamber saga Wood Prophecy. 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. Cornelius is a Vandoren and Mujitsu Shakuhachi artist.