My wife and I have taken to 'snow birding' from Colorado to Arizona (3rd year in Quartzsite) now. The winter population of this little crossroads town in the middle of the desert is astounding, RVers form all over the US and Canada. Anyway all of the bigger RV parks have big recreation halls and most of them sponsor what they call 'jam sessions', they are all themed differently, i.e. Country, Gospel, Big Band and Variety. These events are somewhat mis-nomered in my book but they are great fun. What they are comprised of is basically Karaoke to live musicians but the whole concept is rather unique I think.
What happens is that some singer gets up on stage and says they want to perform some song in whatever key. Now the musicians are expected to play background for the singer (and not everybody play the melody) providing appropriate rhythm, harmony & fill and nobody has a sheet of music and sometimes the singer will give a break to a musician expecting a solo.
All of these folks are seasoned citizens and 90 % of them older than me. The quality of musicians range from what would appear to be beginner to professional. There is one keyboard player here that can play anything in any key and he doesn't have to adjust the keyboard electronically. Most of the musicians are guitar/string players with the next group being keyboard followed by the occasional sax, clarinet, accordion and then me the lone trumpet player.
I have been using these as a method to enhance my playing by ear and limited improv skills (or lack thereof).
I was just wondering if any of you have ever attempted/experienced this form of performance and if you had any tips for success (besides practice, practice, practice)?