Making a return for his second appearance on StoryBeat is the great jazz and world flutist, Michael Mason. Michael’s been playing professionally for more than 40 years.  He’s led off for Trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, had master classes with James Newton, been influenced by Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, performed with New Orleans Saxophonist Edward “Kidd” Jordan and Chicago’s legendary Fred Anderson. He’s also collaborated with James Galway and many artists from the legendary AACM organization.

Michael’s musical influences include Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Sun Ra, and Yusef Lateef.

More than a composer and musician, Michael was also a working firefighter for 38 years and is now Retired Lieutenant Michael Mason of the Downers Grove, Illinois Fire Department. He was one of the first responders from the Chicago area to fly to New York City after the World Trade Center Towers were attacked. There he worked with the New York City Fire Department and Port Authority for many weeks. You can read more about his firefighting efforts at ricofirerescue.com.

Over the past 10-plus years Michael’s taught thousands of recruits at the Fire Academy to become first responders and has taught veterans how to save each other at the scene of any type of tragic incident.

Please be sure to stick around at the end of this episode for a special treat. Michael has lent us his beautiful song, Freedom, from his new album, Impermanence. Freedom has also been turned into a music video as a tribute to the people of Ukraine.  The video, which can be seen on fireflute.com, has been approved by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for Grammy voting in the Best Music Video category, and Impermanence is up for voting in the “Best Contemporary Jazz Album” category.