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Passings: Jon Hiseman of Colosseum, Tempest (1944 - 2018)

by VVN Music

Jon Hiseman, whose career took him from the Graham Bond Organization and John Mayall to Colosseum and Tempest, has died after battling brain cancer. He was 73.

Ana Gracey, his daughter, announced Hiseman's death with the statement "My Dad passed away peacefully at 03:55am".

Hiseman started his professional career in the mid-60's, playing on Arthur Brown's song "Devil's Grip" and going on to replace Ginger Baker in the Graham Bond Organization. After following for a short tenure with Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, he joined John Mayall's Bluesbreakers in early 1968.

During his short time with Mayall, he played on the album Bare Wires, which they recorded in April 1968 but, by the end of the month, he had left the band along with Dick Heckstall-Smith to form Colosseum, one of the first bands to fuse rock, jazz and blues.

During the three years that the band was together, they recorded the albums Those Who Are About to Die We Salute You (1969), Valentyne Suite (1969), The Grass is Greener (1970 (U.S. Only)) and Daughter in Time (1970). After a 1971 live album, the band broke up.

Hiseman went on to form Tempest with Mark Clarke who were later joined by Allan Holdsworth and Paul Williams.  The band, like Colosseum, had a short history with only two albums, Tempest (1973) and Living in Fear (1974).

In 1975, Hiseman formed Colosseum II with Don Airey and Gary Moore, which had a jazz-fusion sound and produced three albums, Strange New Flash (1976), Electric Savage (1977) and War Dance (1977) before they broke up in 1978.

Over the next two decades, Jon worked on numerous jazz projects, including fifteen albums with his wife, Barbara Thompson, and formed a professional relationship with Andrew Lloyd Webber, playing on many of his projects.  He also opened his own recording studio in 1982.

In June 1994, Colosseum reformed with the same lineup as 1971, going on to release both live albums and three studio sets, Bread & Circuses (1997), Tomorrow's Blues (2003) and Time On Our Side (2014). The group played their farewell concert on February 28, 2015.

Not one to retire, Hiseman formed a new band, JCM, and recorded the album Heroes which was released in April. Shortly after they began touring, it was announced that future dates would be cancelled after Hiseman was found to have a brain tumor.

Clem Clempson, formerly of Colosseum and now a member of JCM, said "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."