Award-winning composer Cornelius Boots is in full-blooded collaboration with the deceptively simple, yet devilishly difficult shakuhachi flute of Zen Buddhism. He is also a specialist in Taimu, its baritone brother. The result is a rich and inspired collision of classic rock, blues, heavy metal, and Zen Buddhist nature hymns from monasteries.

After a 30-year career of high-caliber jazz, classical, rock and experimental music activities, Boots has positioned himself at the crossroads of personal expression and divine revelation. He is the Dio of Bamboo, the Danzig of Zen. You might also think of him as a Pied Piper for the nerdy, strange and enlightened. Take a peek at his music stand and be surprised to discover Western notation next to Japanese kinko notation, and occasionally a blend of the two for his students.

Cornelius is known for his pioneering work with the world’s only bass clarinet quartet, Edmund Welles.  Studying shakuhachi since 2001, in 2013 he achieved shihan (master) rank in the dynamic Zen lineage of Watazumido from Michael Chikuzen Gould. Boots received the name Shinzen (深禅 = depth Zen).  A graduate of Jacob’s School of Music (B.M. Clarinet Performance, B.S. Audio Recording and M.M. Jazz Studies), Boots has performed and lectured internationally, released over a dozen albums and published scores and instructional materials.

“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

Videos & Album

Blacken the Cursed Sun                                     Shakuhachi, arrangement of metal

Purgatory                                                              Taimu, composition of blues

Tamuke                                                                 Taimu, Zen Buddhist meditation hymn

Mountain Hermit’s Secret Wisdom                Taimu album recorded in a cave

Godan Sugomori (Nesting of the Cranes)      Shakuhachi, Zen Buddhist nature hymn

Scandinavian booking through Isabel Douglass at Tone Chamber booking at

Japan booking through Amy Baskerville, Japan mini-tour October 2016, sign up for details.

New album funding project until 10/11–

A 2011 photo on the Vandoren website: that’s a REED!

I used to be a rock bass clarinetist, check it out all over the web like here and here, and this one is classic.

LUDO is Cornelius’ cat. He was adopted from the streets of Chicago in October 2001.