Check out the New Biography of Jon Hiseman by Martin Hanson
Jon studied piano and violin as a child but became intensely interested in percussion during his early teens. His first performances were given on timpani with a small orchestra and with a jazz trio alongside bassist Tony Reeves and pianist Dave Greenslade – both of whom would later become founding members of Colosseum. By the time he was 18 Jon was working semi-professionally on the London scene with rhythm and blues and modern jazz groups. Born Philip John and taking John as his first name to avoid confusion with his father, the first review in the’ Melody Maker’ of his playing mis-spelt his name and furthur reviews and interviews compounded the felony. By the time he met wife-to-be Barbara Thompson in the New Jazz Orchestra in 1964 he was Jon to everybody except the Taxman!
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In 1979 Jon joined Barbara Thompson’s band Paraphernalia, and MCA Records released 3 albums before 1982 when Jon built a 24Tk recording studio next to their home and founded TM Studios/TM Records. Jon and Barbara have averaged about a 100 concerts and a CD a year ever since. In addition they are in demand for their Film & TV score production, and currently work on the Yorkshire Television series ‘A Touch of Frost’ starring David Jason. The studio is continually updated and is now one of the larger studios around London packed with the latest in analogue and digital recording technology.
In 1975 Jon was a founder member of the United Jazz & Rock Ensemble. This ten piece band has released an album and toured every two years or so ever since.
Jon released his first solo album ‘A Night In The Sun’ (it’s not a drum solo album!) which was recorded in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1982. Since then he has produced and performed on eight Paraphernalia albums ‘Mother Earth’, ”Nightwatch’, ‘A Cry From The Heart’, ‘Breathless’, ‘Everlasting Flame’, ‘Lady Saxophone’, ‘Shifting Sands’, the latest ‘Thompson’s Tangos’ and Barbara’s album ‘Heavenly Bodies’. He recorded and produced Barbara’s album ‘Songs From The Centre Of The Earth’ – solo saxophone pieces recorded on location in the natural acoustic of a 12th Century mediaeval abbey in Provence, France, and ‘Barbarasong’, arrangements of Kurt Weill songs for Barbara and the Medici String Quartet. Jon’s more recent projects include production on ‘Innocence’, Ana Gracey’s forthcoming album, Barbara Thompson’s ‘In the Eye of a Storm’ a new compilation ballads album, a collaboration involving Barbara and percussionist Evelyn Glennie ‘Rhythms of the Gods’, ‘Three Quartets’ featuring the Apollo Saxophone Quartet composed by Barbara Thompson and Jon is currently working on a new Colosseum album due to be released in the Autumn of 2003, when they will also embark on a European tour.
Jon is famous for his drum solos and 60 concerts were digitally recorded during Paraphernalia and United Jazz & Rock Ensemble tours in 1985. This resulted in the album ‘About Time Too!’ being released in the Autumn of 1986. This is a drum solo album and has just been re-released on CD. It’s a great album for parties when you want people to leave!
In 1995 following serious pressure from the lads, Jon reformed Colosseum. Following more than 140 smash concerts all over Europe, Jon recorded and co-produced 2 albums and a live video (now available on DVD). ‘Colosseum LiveS – The Reunion Concerts‘ and the video of the same name were released in 1995 and a new studio CD ‘Bread and Circuses’ was released in 1997. This was followed in 2003 by a new studio CD “Tomorrows Blues”.