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Variations on a Theme





Variations on a Theme .

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Last night Ken and I enjoyed a fabulous evening of music by Bill Frisell and his group at the Old Rock House in St. Louis. They are innovators whose work is impossible to categorize, except to say that it ranges from beautiful and hypnotic to catchy, challenging, and sometimes humorous. (For a sample, listen to this! ) In a recent interview with the Riverfront Times, Frisell described the improvisational nature of his music, and how it changes every time he plays. He said that the music sounds different with each playing, in relation to the space, the musicians, and the listeners in the room. The music is so fluid and layered that it is impossible to imagine it ever happening exactly the same way twice.

I sense many parallels between improvisational music and individuals’ and families’ lives. While there are stages of development and change that are quite universal, each life contains within it rich patterns that change in relation to a multitude of variables.