I've tried both ways in terms of the memorization aspect. I think, for me it's most helpful to think of the top note, as I like to think melodically when I comp. Also, I was running the shape horizontally (chromatically) and playing the open E string underneath. So for the initial x7553 I would say "R, b3, b13/#5, b7 (all based on E in the bass)." So, I would call it either Emin7#5 or I could use it to suggest an altered sound, but I keep in mind that there's no third. I then move the shape up a half step and repeat the process until I've gone through all 12 possibilities. I took a lesson with Lage last fall and that was something he stressed to me; he sometimes like to play chords that are purposely ambiguous (no 3rd's or 7th's etc.) for different textures.
I'm familiar with most of the books you've mentioned. Being a Berklee grad, one of my biggest regrets is never taking a semester with Jon Damian (class or private lesson). I've heard nothing but AMAZING (not just good) things about him as a teacher.
Invaluable info and insight, man! Thanks!!