This is not advice he gave to me only - he shared it with everyone who read the same article (which I believe was in Guitar Player mag though it could have been elsewhere). Still, I feel like he meant it personally for me.
What Jerry said, essentially, was that, in his estimation, there are really only two basic kinds of solos. One works off of the song's melody line. The other leaves it.
So simple, yet profound and practical for jam-oriented lead players. By starting off with a melody-based lead, departing afterwards into the ether, and returning at the end, it's like using a pair of bookmarks to demarcate and ground your eclectic collection!.
To be honest, I can be lazy. I rarely care to work out very many leads note-for-note (disclaimer: exceptions: George, John, and Paul
But what I do enjoy doing, when first learning new songs or preparing to play them in an ensemble setting for the first time, is sitting down and learning single-note, tight versions of the melody lines to prepare for later soloing.
It really is a useful exercise. If you haven't ever tried it, consider giving it a spin.
Thanks again, Jer.