In the early nineteen-thirties, Edgar Sampson (alto saxophone, composer, arranger, lyricist) wrote an irresistible song which he called IF DREAMS COME TRUE. Benny Goodman’s name is on the sheet music, but I take that as evidence of the repellent practice of bandleaders and stars “cutting themselves in” on royalties for a composition they had nothing to do with in exchange for performing it and recording it. Many beautiful recordings of this song — James P. Johnson’s, Billie Holiday’s, and Chick Webb’s come to mind.
Here is a contemporary version by some Masters of their Art (my posting inspired by Scott Ricketts) recorded on November 30, 2014, at the San Diego Jazz Fest — Tim Laughlin, clarinet; Connie Jones, cornet; Doug Finke, trombone; Chris Dawson, piano; Katie Cavera, guitar; Marty Eggers, string bass; Hal Smith, drums.
To me, it is the very epitome of floating swing lyricism — a leisurely cross-pollination of the Bobcats and a Teddy Wilson small group, a triumph of sweet individualism in this century:
I have only one problem with the song’s title, and it is a semantic one. The song exists in the fragile realm of the doubtful, the conditional. Dreams may come true but we aren’t at all sure. Even changing it to WHEN DREAMS COME TRUE puts the happy consummation somewhere in the indistinct future.
Let’s be bold. When Connie and Tim lead this band, DREAMS COME TRUE. I will brook no arguments on this. I know that they did and do for me, and for many in the audience.
May your happiness increase!