Old jazz standards make great lullabies, and this one is no exception. The lyrics are simple, innocent, and uplifting.
The song was covered in 1968 by Cass Elliot with the Mamas and Papas and again that year by Anita Harris. More than 40 other recorded versions followed.
It was re-released in 2013 on the album Cheek to Cheek, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong Duets.
Fitzgerald’s knowing delivery of the playful lyrics and tight horn arrangement on this classic standard from her time with Chick Webb and his orchestra makes this one of her most memorable recordings. The crooner’s effortless grace under pressure and her ability to deftly shift gears from ballad to swing to bop to pop without missing a beat is a master class in graceful performance.
She also displays her encyclopedic knowledge of melodies as she breaks into Charlie Parker’s intricate bebop licks in her vocal solo. The song’s uplifting message, fun lyrics and impressive showcase of Fitzgerald’s remarkable scat singing skills leave listeners inspired to pursue their own pursuit of happiness and joy with unwavering commitment.
Ella Fitzgerald’s insightful words highlight the profound impact music had on her life and the significant role it played in overcoming the challenges she faced throughout her journey. She proves that despite her humble beginnings, it is the courage, perseverance, and drive to reach for one’s dreams that matter most.
Old jazz standards like “Dream a Little Dream of Me” work well as lullabies because the lyrics are from an older, more innocent time, and don’t contain the irony that you’ll often find in modern pop songs. Plus, they’re simple enough to sing, and their melodic sophistication makes them pleasant for adults to listen to as well. Wilber Schwandt and Fabian Andre originally wrote the music for this song, and it was first recorded by The Mills Brothers in 1938. Since then, it has been recorded more than 40 times by various artists. The Mamas & the Papas’ version was their highest-charting hit.
In the second half of her career, Fitzgerald recorded albums that were devoted to songs by specific composers; she issued collections exclusively featuring the works of Porter (Ella Loves Cole) and Gershwin (Nice Work If You Can Get It). She also made a series of live recordings for Verve including Live at the Opera House, Ella in Rome, and Twelve Nights at Hollywood.
Her partnership with Duke Ellington resulted in a pair of studio and live albums, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington at the Cote d’Azur and Ella and Duke at the Stockholm Concert. She was also an integral part of the Jazz at the Philharmonic series that producer Norman Granz initiated in 1942.
In 2002, saxophonist Joe Austin released an album called For Ella containing eleven songs most associated with the First Lady of Song; he was joined on the album by a number of other artists such as Michael Bublé, Natalie Cole, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Diana Krall, k.d. lang, and Queen Latifah.ella fitzgerald dream a little dream of me