Legendary British drummer Jon Hiseman, founder of the fusion group Colosseum and Colosseum II and married to jazz star Barbara Thompson, has died at the age of 73. A statement was issued at lunchtime today, a few hours after he passed away.
It reads: “It is with profound sorrow that we must report the death of Jon Hiseman, one of the most gifted, rightly-acclaimed and highly respected drummers and band leaders of his generation.
“In a career that spanned over half a century, Jon Hiseman pursued a distinctive musical vision, blurring the boundaries between Rock, Progressive and Jazz, and doing so with incredible poise and dignity, earning the respect of his musical peers and the admiration of a legion of music fans worldwide.
“Jon’s last project, the ‘power trio’ JCM, which featured himself, guitarist / vocalist Clem Clempson, and bass player Mark Clarke, released the album ‘Heroes’ last month May 2018), which pays due homage to many of the incredible talents that the trio had performed with over the last five decades.
“Jon Hiseman passed away peacefully in his sleep at 3.55am on Tuesday, June 12th 2018.
“On his Facebook page, Clem Clempson, longtime friend and band mate of Jon Hiseman posted this message in memoriam: “It is with great sadness and a feeling of utter disbelief that I must share the awful news that my dear friend and colleague of almost 50 years, the great Jon Hiseman, passed away early this morning after a brief and courageous battle with cancer.
“Hard to believe that this could come to pass just a few weeks after we were playing together onstage with JCM. For all who worked with him, he was a constant guiding light, inspirational and indefatigable, a true leader who will be greatly missed by his many colleagues and legions of fans. Thanks for everything Jon, RIP.” The statement ends.
In the mid-1960s, Jon played on sessions such as the early Arthur Brown single, “Devil’s Grip”. In 1966 he replaced Ginger Baker in the Graham Bond Organisation and he played for a brief spell with Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. He then joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers in 1968, playing on the iconic album “Bare Wires”.
In April 1968 he left to form what has been critically claimed as the “seminal” jazz rock/progressive rock band, Colosseum. Colosseum disbanded in November 1971, although Hiseman later formed Colosseum II with Don Airey and Gary Moore in 1975.
In October 2010, a biography of Jon Hiseman, “Playing the Band”, was published – written by Martyn Hanson and edited by original Colosseum manager, Colin Richardson. In 2017 Jon Hiseman formed a new trio called JCM. The band recorded “Heroes” late in 2017 and it was released in April 2018. JCM began touring in April 2018.
In May 2018, Hiseman’s family reported Jon was struggling with a brain tumor. R.I.P.