Re: Importance of Transcriptions
I seem to rely more on the method of learning by ear off of recordings rather than by actual writing down. It works better for me this way. I don't think that I've ever written down something I was trying to learn by ear. It just stays with me and I don'r forget it.
Some of my favorite pieces that I have learned by ear are: The Eternal Triangle (Sonny Side Up), Moritat (Sax. Colosus), Dexter Gordon's I guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry, Three o'clock in the morning, cheesecake and Second Balcony Jump, Dancing in the Dark (Cann. Add.), Ko Ko, Tenor Madness, The Girl from Ipanema, Some of Giant Steps, and Naima. These are some of my personal favorites that I have learned by ear.
I also whole heartily agree with Terry in that what like to play will be retained much longer that what you learn but don't enjoy as much. So, in case, you should focus on what you like to play rather than feel obligated to learn stuff you don't like just because they are the "quintessential standards."
I seem to have forgotten the original question :-/ Oh well. Good luck on whatever you asked.
Dark Eyes (unloved thesis)