When I say "playing" a tune in all keys that assumes "learning". That's the reason I do it on piano first. Once I've learned it I can then play on it.Note that I didn't say "playing tunes in all keys is a waste of time", I said "learning tunes in 12 keys can be a waste of time". Big difference, see the rest of my post to follow my reasoning.
I understand what you've described as automatically playing without learning but that's not what I was talking about. When playing on a tune I always know what chord is happening at any point when I'm playing, even if I'm not consciously thinking of it.
My overall point is that this has benefits far beyond the immediate considerations of how many tunes one knows and in how many keys. That's actually not even the point of it.
Thing is, I find the process comes much easier and faster the more (and more slowly) I do it. In earlier years I tried to learn too many tunes too quickly and never got any real traction and was frustrated. I found that by concentrating on a handful of tunes and learning them to this degree I was then able to learn a new tune in five minutes if I had to. Maybe on a jam session I'd hear the changes a couple of times and know what the chords were pretty much right away.
Yes, but playing licks in all twelve keys is a very different process than being able to play what you hear in all twelve keys. "Playing what you hear" meaning the same thing it does when singing. But on the horn it's based on the ability to go in any direction at any time, from any one note to any other, knowing in your mind what the next note will sound like before you play it.Yes, that's why I find playing licks in 12 keys very important, you can easily run through a lick in 12 keys in one practice session. If you play only one horn and you practice 8 hours a day, then learning all your repertoire in 12 keys is feasible. If, like myself, you're a doubler and you work on being equally fluent on all of your instruments, spending all your time on one tune in different keys is not the most efficient use of your practice time. I did at one point, when I was younger, learn Donna Lee in 12 keys, but I can't imagine doing that with the over 200 tunes I have memorized.
While I wouldn't necessarily need to practice 200 tunes in all keys I'd certainly want to be able to have the skill to at least figure out any key on any given tune in a minute or two and be able to play on it just as easily as the given key.