Preparation is the best friend you have before entering the studio or live recording alongside the skill to pull off what the client (artist/producer) wants to hear. To be ready as best you can, there are several things you’ll need to ensure your call back or at least the client’s satisfaction.
As far ahead of the session as possible, Ask for the charts and, definitely, a demo recording of whatever tunes the client or artist wants you to play on. Then find out what they expect you to bring to the track or tracks. Meaning, Do they just want you to lay a solid track with no extra sauce? Do they want the same groove as is on the demo? Do you have free reign? Even if you do have free reign you should under play whatever freedom they give you because it is better for them to say “I want you to play a little more” or add more flavor than say ” You are playing a little too much” or over playing. To be honest, in most cases you won’t get a chart and audio recording of the tune or tunes. And 50% of the time you’ll get just a chart, and the other 50% of the time just an audio recording. If you are recording the tracks in your own studio, Give them several different takes and styles to choose from to keep yourself from having to go to the drawing board again. Also, to give the client more to choose from and they feel like they’ve gotten their money’s worth. Then you can always include a take with the ultimate sauce and it is their option to use it.
And don’t panic if you get called for a last minute session and don’t know the music or vibe. Obviously, You were referred by someone that had enough faith in yours skills to pass on your number, so be confident and move forward with the situation with the mind frame that you are going to rock this session and it is going to bring more work to you.