|There's a line of thought that says something to the effect of: "To go forward, you have to go back." No, this isn't
some kind of Zen thing, at least I don't interpret it as such. Rather I view it as saying that it is necessary to understand cultural/historical and musical antecedents to make progress in one's own playing. I'm not just talking repertoire, though it includes that, nor just listening and learning from past masters (ditto) but also sitting down with old songs and opening your mind to past harmonic structures and rhyming schemes.
In the fall of 2001, I took care of a sick cat for my good friends Menno and Mary (making the cat take its pills was not fun, and by the end of the week we were both traumatized by the med rounds). I was able to drag some recording gear over to their house and bang away for a few hours on Thanksgiving day on their Steinway A. The result was "Silver Linings", a collection of mostly Tin Pan Alley standards.
Because of the quick and dirty approach, there are flaws in this CD. The piano is out of tune, my playing is a little strained and I didn't have time for more than a couple of takes for half the tunes and one take for the rest.