Newly mastered version of one of my favorite standards, “Detour Ahead.” I was aiming for the classic Rudy VanGelder Blue Note sound: open, exposed, slightly exaggerated proximity, and active room sounds. Process… Now trying to find venues to get back out gigging. Oy! Competing with the brutal undercutting of rates in the Bay is daunting. Hiring players of this calibre is a tough challenge when clubs are paying $0-50 per head.

Written in 1947 by Johnny Frigo (Frigo magnanimously co-credited bandmates Herb Ellis, and Lou Carter), this beautiful and slightly melancholy ballad speaks to me in a way I find mildly ironic. The lyric seems to be decrying love/romance as a path fraught with peril, with both a warning and a defiant claim of non-participation in such folly. But the melody and harmony belie a yearning and lack of connection in a kind of sour grapes way. The first known recording of Detour Ahead was by Woody Herman and His Orchestra – Vocal by Mary Ann McCall (July 14, 1949), and it has been covered innumerable times as a gem of the jazz standards idiom.


Detour Ahead – written by Johnny Frigo (add. credits Herb Ellis, Lou Carter) 1947

Smooth road, clear day
But why am I the only one travelin’ this way?
How strange, the road to love should be so easy
Can’t you see the Detour Ahead?

Wake up, slow down
Before you crash and break your heart, gullible clown
You fool, you’re headed in the wrong direction
Can’t you see the Detour Ahead?

The further you travel, the harder to unravel the web
She spins around you
Turn back while there’s time Don’t you see the danger sign?
Soft shoulders surround you

Smooth road, clear night
Oh, lucky me that suddenly I saw the light
I’m turning back away from all that trouble
Smooth road, clear day
No Detour Ahead


released April 22, 2021
Steve Snelling – piano, voice
Cody Rhodes – drums
Schuyler Karr – bass
Recorded at Studio Sneldog
Mastered by Mark Fuller Mastering
cover photo by Karsten W├╝rth on UnSplash