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On December 1, 1958 fire broke out at Our Lady Of Angels school in Chicago. Ninety-two children and three Catholic nuns were killed and hundreds of others injured in the fire. Michael Mason a survivor of this tragedy is besides a talented Musician, a firefighter in the Chicago area. Mason and The Exploratory Ensemble present this tone poem to that tragic day and to the survivors. Like John Coltrane’s “Alabama,” this document is a beautiful statement assembled from so much suffering. Mason a jazz flutist and follower of Coltrane and Yusef Lateef, releases his third disc for Southport Records. Drawing on Jazz, African, Irish and Scottish music, Mason weaves a multi-ethnic narrative that is consistent and moving. This ‘album’ plays like a soundtrack to the events of that tragic day, painted from a palette of percussion, and broad repeated themes. Like John Coltrane’s “Love Supreme” the music is meant to be taken as a whole. Mason’s project was funded by a $30,000 grant from the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance. Proceeds from the sale of these compact discs will underwrite IFSA fire prevention education programs and will help fund IFSA sponsored summer burn camps serving children injured by fire. For more information, check out the web site dedicated to their cause www.angelsoffirecd.com.
Track List:A Touch Of Rain; Courage Of The Heart; Kingdom Come; The Light, The Heat; Firefight; Deep Atmosphere; Youth Of A New Day; The Healing; Fire Dance; Brotherhood; Flame Front; Angels Of Fire; Children’s Song.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.