I've recently completely cleared out the studio and found my fake books: I'm not a huge jazz fan, but the complexity of the music (in comparison to other styles) and the way the books are laid out (just melody and chords) is a great study tool for "knowing the chords".
Historically theory isn't my strong suit: I remember a disgusted sax player who couldn't understand why I couldn't play through changes in a more complex song, just by knowing the chords. The truth is, like lot of self-taught players, I've done it all by ear, really: I can learn basslines from the dots but I don't have a cerebral grounding in chord theory and knowing the language, so to speak.
I plan to start stretching myself in this department. Today I just started with a youtube video of a backing for Donna Lee at http://youtu.be/fVOTUXfqhhE and the fake book entry: Listening to the backing, I know where the song is having learned the Jaco solo: but playing the bassline through the changes? Once again - I'm not fluent, not fluid: I don't yet understand how this is done. I can see a lot of work ahead, and the thing is to break the blank sheet anxiety and get stuck in with the modern resources at hand.
Wish me luck. What are you shedding with?
P.S. Tomorrow is Rikkers pick-up day!! I suspect the bass is currently on the front of the Rikkers stand, where it's picking up some attention :-)