Oldhat, yep, I think you are right, I’ll be causing a few train wrecks for sure. Well, I would be causing train wrecks, but I plan on turning my back to the other players so they won’t steal my tasty BanjoBen licks! Just kidding of course.
A couple of times I played with a guy with a jazz background. I was playing bass, so all I had to do was figure out the general chord progression, but it didn’t matter. We were playing straight rock, but I still had no idea what he was playing. It was entertaining in it’s own sort of way.
As I was typing I just saw the tag post. If you are the alpha player on a given song, I think you can take it where you wanna go. It doesn’t mean anyone will follow, but you gotta do what you are inspired to do. For rehearsed performances, sure, I’d prefer we are all pulling in a rather determined direction. But for a jam, why not?
You mentioned James Gang, and it brought up a slight mental tangent. A cover band I was in used to play “Funk 49” by the James Gang. I don’t think they were the same ones that robbed trains. I can’t even remember the song, but I remember it was fun to play. Sorry for the diversion.