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date: 13 November 2019

Hiseman, Jon [Philip John]free

  • Stan Britt
  • , revised by Barry Kernfeld

(b London, June 21, 1944: d Sutton, UK, June 12, 2018). English drummer and bandleader. Having first played violin and piano, he took up drums while in high school and was soon playing locally; from the age of 18 he worked semiprofessionally. His early experience was with pop and blues-rock musicians – including Graham Bond (1966), Georgie Fame, and John Mayall (late 1967–1968, 1971) – but his resourcefulness enabled him to play jazz with ease. Hiseman’s reputation as a jazz musician was enhanced during this period by associations with Mike Taylor (recording in 1965–6), John Dankworth, Neil Ardley (including recordings with the New Jazz Orchestra, 1965 and 1968), Howard Riley (intermittently, autumn 1965 – summer 1968), and Pete Lemer (recording c1966). In 1968 he established his own group, Colosseum, which became one of the seminal British jazz-rock groups. After this disbanded late in 1971 Hiseman recorded in Germany with Wolfgang Dauner (1972) and led two other ensembles, Tempest (1973–4) and Colosseum II (1975–8); he was also a founding member of the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble (1975), with which he remained into the 1990s. From 1979 he played with Paraphernalia, the band led by his wife, Barbara Thompson; he may be seen in the video Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia: Live in Concert (filmed 1990). He also worked with her in the group Sans Frontières in 1992, and he re-formed Colosseum for performances in 1994 and 1995. From 1983 he had a busy parallel career as a recording engineer and producer, and he had his own label, TM Records. The album About Time, Too! (1986) offers an excellent example of his skill and versatility.

Selected recordings

As leader

of Colosseum: Valentyne Suite (1969, Vertigo 1)

About Time, Too! (1986, TM 8)

As sideman

New Jazz Orchestra: Western Reunion (1965, Decca LK4690)

M. Taylor: Pendulum (1966, Col. 33SX6042)

H. Riley: Discussions (1967, Opportunity 2499)

B. Thompson [Paraphernalia]: Live in Concert (1980, MCA 309)

United Jazz and Rock Ensemble: United Live Opus Sechs (1984, Mood 28642)

B. Thompson [Paraphernalia]: A Cry from the Heart (1987, VeraBra 21-2)

Breathless (1990–91, VeraBra 2057-2)

Everlasting Flame (1993, VeraBra 2058-2)

Lady Saxophone (1995, VeraBra 2166-2)

Bibliography

  • M. C. King: “British Jazzmen, 5: Jon Hiseman,” JJ, 33/11 (1970), 39 [incl. discography]
  • I. Carr: Music Outside: Contemporary Jazz in Britain (London, 1973), 55
  • S. Clarke: “What We Have Here, I Think, is Quite Extraordinary,” New Musical Express (9 Aug 1975), 12
  • R. Cotterrell, ed.: Jazz Now: The Jazz Centre Society Guide (London, 1976), 138
  • P. Colbert: “Musicians’ World: Talking Drums,” Melody Maker (7 March 1981), 31
  • S. Goodwin: “Jon Hiseman: Interaction,” Modern Drummer, 8/4 (1984), 22
  • W. Witt: “Jon Hiseman’s Colosseum,” JP, 43/6 (1994), 24
J. Wickes: Innovations in British Jazz, i: 1900-1980 (Chelmsford, England, 1999)
Jazz-Podium
Jazz Journal