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And you're so right about being able to hear the changes to the songs that you hear on the fly. I've had a similar experience without realizing until you mentioned. Only I was watching Kate and Mim Mim with my daugther.
Geese, Buco, guys! It's OK, you don't have to say you're "watching with your kids". We're understanding :-)
Ok Dennis don't waste too many words, we don't want to remove you from your bear friend for too long. ?
I've been playing for more than 30 years and I lost a lot of time NOT learning songs by heart. It is probably the most valuable thing for a jazz player. Aebersold. vol76 "How to learn songs" by David Baker tackles this subject focusing on learning how to view and recognise formula based songs. A great tool.
I recently spent some time trying to play the changes to every song I know by heart and got stuck at about 55...I thought by now I'd have known more but without playing along with something or having chart in front of you, it all started blending together! I think this thread has motivated me to push out a few more. Definitely agree with the value in commiting things to memory, and how this exercise opens up similarities/differences between different tunes.