In another lifetime, I played musical instruments. I was pretty good with technique, good at improvising, and after playing guitar for a few years, my understanding of theory grew into a harmonic sense that was quite a bit sharper than my peers.
But, enough about me …
And he said something so cool, that had never dawned on me:
In jazz, there’s a saying that either you’re playing the blues or you’re playing ‘I Got Rhythm.’ Next to the blues, it’s just about the most common jazz form.
Now. I knew a lot of standards, but I never played “I Got Rhythm”. So I start humming it to myself … ta da dum da, dum da dum da … and I can visualize what he’s saying about the harmony. And I start thinking it through, and it’s like one turnaround following another, all the way through to the bridge.
And now, because it’s 2013, even though I haven’t really played guitar in 25 years, I can go to Wikipedia where it tells me that the harmony for “I Got Rhythm” is so popular that the chord changes are known as “rhythm changes”. It all looks so familiar, and I could rattle off a dozen tunes with similar changes … including a bunch of rock songs.
Weird. This is all navel-gazing … but it means a lot to me.