Jon Hiseman Has Passed Away

Jon HisemanThe great Jon Hiseman has died this morning, aged 73. A genuine gentleman, he was as sharp and warm as his drumming was, and taking care of people seemed to be as natural for him as taking care of business did. For Hiseman, those aspects never existed separately, though, as Jon, being an accountant by original trade, made sure his colleagues, past and present, received their due in timely manner. As for music…

“When I play the music I don’t really know what I’m doing. I’ve always been able to work like that,” Jon told me once. “I’ve always had a clear vision of what I wanted to do in terms of knowing what was right. What you do when you get on the stage always seems to work somehow, and that’s the least problem for me.”

It did work, whether Hiseman was driving NEW JAZZ ORCHESTRA, spicing up BLUESBREAKERS’ groove, propelling the mojo of GRAHAM BOND ORGANISATION to delirium or steering his own pioneering projects – COLOSSEUM, TEMPEST, COLOSSEUM II – towards bliss. Those projects served as jazz-rock educational institution not only for Jon’s listeners but also for such musicians as Allan Holdsworth and Gary Moore, Clem Clempson and Mark Clarke, Don Airey and Neil Murray, and, perhaps, of all the people he performed with, only Dick Heckstall-Smith and Hiseman’s wife Barbara Thompson could rival him for improvisational expertise. “Innovative” wouldn’t come close to describing Jon Hiseman who was in a class of his own, with John Mayall and Jack Bruce – two other stalwarts of British blues – called for this drummer’s services. Exerting discipline in the studio and showing no creative restraint live, Jon’s playing remains a thinking musician’s textbook.

Hiseman’s latest endeavor, with Mark and Clem, was JCM whose album “Heroes” celebrated their fallen friends. Now, Jon has joined the pantheon in paradise. He will be sorely missed by many. “Are you a happy person?” I asked him. “Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely – all the time,” he answered. Such was Jon’s spirit…

June 12, 2018

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