merriam-webster has several definitions for the word. the first is “to stretch out, or extend.” another definition is to “make an impression on; to communicate with.”
when it comes to music, particularly jazz, both meanings are at the heart of creative expression.
if you’ve ever watched a documentary on jazz,or seen a group of classic jazz players (or perhaps blues or other musicians, it’s just more common in jazz) and listened closely to the stage chatter, you’ve probably heard guys calling out to the soloist, “reach!”, as he/she preformed. what they’re doing is encouraging their band mates to push themselves as a musician, and artist, to aspire to greater heights – such as playing in the upper range of their instrument, or to play with greater virtuosity or to play something new and different. when the chemistry is right, and the right bond is forged there is an appreciation and joy that comes from a shared sense of accomplishment among some players that doesn’t come as easily or often as it should. the feeling that when one of us does good, we all do good – that a rising tide lifts all boats.that’s what those musicians are sharing with each other.
the thing is, it’s not just a few musicians that can share in this. it’s really open to everyone and it goes far beyond the boundaries of music. if you’ve got friends or loved ones trying to do something new, encourage them. inspire them to “reach.” help to support and lift them up, and in turn lift yourself up, because truly, and especially in a collaborative effort, a rising tide does lift all boats.