Songs of our Fathers
This weekend, I attended a concert of guitar virtuoso and three time Grammy® nominee Stanley Jordan
. It was a pretty amazing concert for a number of reasons.
First, Stanley was a couple of years ahead of me at Princeton and it had been some time since I had seen him play. I didnt really know him while we were in college other than to nod hello when we would pass each other on campus. We played in different circles that didnt overlap
his a world of jazz and mine a world of football pads.
Second, Stanley developed a unique way of playing the guitar with both hands topping the fret board that creates a sound like no other guitarist. (Check out his rendition of Stairway to Heaven
.) Even in college, he was becoming quite well-known for this technique. Its really something to see and hear
At one point in the concert, Stanley strolled over to the piano and began to play a song. Nothing unique about this since lots of folks can play multiple instruments. But then, he started playing the piano AND the guitar simultaneously. Amazing.
When he finished playing, he explained that the song was called, Song for My Father and then he spoke a bit about the importance of fatherhood. Heres what he had to say in the notes of his fabulous new CD State of Nature.
Fathers of fathers, sons of sons
Fatherhood, that precious profession;
That sacred occupation.
Passing on strength and wisdom,
Leaving no stone unturned,
Moving heaven and earth
To teach and protect,
To love and inspire,
And ultimately, to free.
For we are all children of mystery.
When Stanley finished his remarks and moved to the next number, I could not help but linger there a bit. Ironically, his unique ability to play two instruments simultaneously with such grace and skill is the perfect metaphor for what good fathers do. They balance family AND work. They balance affection AND discipline. They balance patience AND urgency. They do all of thisand much moreto create a melody that their childrens hearts need to see and to hear. Like Stanleys music, its a thing of beauty.