buddy, if you think "just friends" changes are "wacko" you need to be much more aware of the jazz repertoire. granted the changes are hipper than say, "i got rhythm" and that's why it's been a standard for so long,  played in swing as well as bossa nova styles.

and as to your comment that the real book changes are "just standard rehamornizations," i've been playing this tune for 40 years and the rb changes are pretty much what everyone has always (essentially) played.

the changes you referred to are no shocker as you surmised. the first five bars - cmaj7 cmaj7 cm7 f7 gmaj7 - are not uncommon for a iv chord situation. check out bars 3-5 of "misty" and you find the  same thing in eb. i sure hope you don't think that tune is "wacko." same thing happens in bars 5-8 of miles davis' "four" and a heck of a lot of other tunes.

the changes in just friend in bars 7-10 - bmb7 eb7 am7 d7 - the  bbm7 eb7 is a common substitute for a vi7 (or v7 of ii if you prefer) you'll find in many tunes as well. (and often played during solos in other tunes to avoid the tired i vi ii v progression over and over.) the composer obviously liked it because he heard his melody going to db and liked the bbm7 there rather than a more tradional vi7 chord (e13 in this case.) again, nice but no big deal.

the rest of the tune is nothing shocking, harmonically, although you hear a lot of variations.

it is interesting that you can find parallel minor triads but it's sort of after the fact - like trying to find some connection because adolf hitler and saddam hussein's last names begin with h.

hey, far more interesting is the parallel major 3rd connnection in the changes to the bridge of "girl from ipanema" - which was unique in the 60s when it came out and still is.

becoming a good jazz player is recognizing chord groups (like those in jf), working out improvisations to make them move smoothly, then being able to spot the same progression in other tunes (and other keys.) then you can play with some comfort level, knowing what that progression is going to sound like, how it moves, and being able to play something meaningful on top of it.
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