Jason Kao Hwang/EDGE and violinist Clarence Cameron White’s “Lament” (1919)
by Bobby Hill
Jazz Avenues , April 26, 2012
On the dark, cold and rainy Sunday evening of last weekend, violinist and violist Jason Kao Hwang brightened everyone’s spirits with a moving performance by his EDGE ensemble at U. Street’s historic Bohemian Caverns. The evening’s highlight was Hwang’s arrangement of African-American violinist Clarence Cameron White’s “Lament,” which was first recorded in 1919 on the historic Broome record label.
In his book, ‘Lost Sounds – Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1890-1919,’ author Tim Brooks states that, ‘Black concert music and recitals during the early 1900s constituted a small but growing field, separate and segregated from the much larger white concert world.” C. Cameron White, a graduate of D.C.’s Howard University recorded “Lament” the same year of the founding of the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM). C. Cameron White, who recommended the establishment of the still-existing NANM, served as its second president. Cameron passed in 1960.
The second set of the evening’s performance began with a CD playing of the original 1919 version of C. Cameron White’s violin solo “Lament.” Hwang immediately followed with his new version as arranged for cornet, acoustic bass and drums with a highlight being Ken Filiano’s arresting arco work.
Transparent Productions, the premiere presenter of creative improvised music in the Washington, DC area since 1997, continues it’s Sunday @7 shows at the Bohemian Caverns with May performances by The Chicago Underground Duo on Sunday May 13 and the Darious Jones Quartet on Sunday, May 20.