Jon Hiseman


Check out the New Biography of Jon Hiseman by Martin Hanson

jonhisemanJon 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!

In 1966 he turned professional, replacing Ginger Baker in the Graham Bond Organisation and followed this with stints with Georgie Fame and John Mayall. From 1969 to 1978 he led three pioneering Jazz-Rock groups – Colosseum, Tempest and Colosseum II.
Throughout these years he was in demand as a session drummer and in 1977 met Andrew Lloyd Webber, a composer in search of an orchestra. Colosseum II, featuring Gary Moore, became the nucleus for the No 1 hit ‘Variations’ album. Working alongside his wife Barbara Thompson and Rod Argent on this project led to the Rod Argent / Barbara Thompson album ‘Ghosts’ released by MCA in 1982. Jon’s association with Andrew Lloyd Webber continued on ‘Cats’ and ‘Tell me on a Sunday,’ ‘Starlight Express’ and ‘Requiem’.

Click for Jon Hiseman’s Discography

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 HIsemanJon 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”.

View Jon Hiseman’s Projects

  • The Sky's the Limit

    The Sky’s the Limit

    The Sky’s The Limit composed by Barbara Thompson, performed by Jess Gillam, finalist BBC 'Young Musician of the Year' 2016

    • BTLive19802
    • Wildtales

    Transcriptions of four of our early LPs previously unreleased on CD

    After many requests, we are offering four early LP's as high quality CD-R's.

  • About Time Too! The Drum Solos

    About Time Too! The Drum Solos

    The Jon Hiseman drum solos album - recorded during live performances with the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble and Paraphernalia during 1985.

  • Sax Rap

    Sax Rap

    Music track taken from 1991 Barbara Thompson's Paraphernalia album "Breathless.

  • Double Trouble

    Double Trouble

    A Duet for Tuba by Barbara Thompson

  • Green


    The 4th of 6 movements from Barbara Thompson's saxophone quartet suite 'From Darkness into Light'.

  • RED


    The 3rd of 6 movements from Barbara Thompson's saxophone quartet suite 'From Darkness into Light'.

  • 'Playing the Band' - The Musical Life of Jon Hiseman

    ‘Playing the Band’ – The Musical Life of Jon Hiseman

    Playing the Band' - The Musical Life of Jon Hiseman (and lots more besides!) by Martyn Hanson, published by Temple Music.

  • Jon Hiseman's 1981 Album 'A Night In The Sun'

    Jon Hiseman’s 1981 Album ‘A Night In The Sun’

    Originally released only on vinyl, this album dates from 1981 and has never been previously released on CD.

  • Dear Bach...

    Dear Bach…

    A video by Jon Hiseman, filmed on the last day of recording the new Apollo Saxophone Orchestra album 'Perpetual Motion'.

  • Cities Never Sleep

    Cities Never Sleep

    Featuring The Apollo Saxophone Orchestra.Composed by Barbara Thompson.