Colosseum/colosseum Ii

Hiseman and Heckstall Smith had met in 1966 in the Graham Bond Organisation – Hiseman replacing Ginger Baker who’d gone to Cream. Both left Bond in the same year. The drummer joined Georgie Fame’s group, while the sax player – who had previously been a key figure of Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated- was heading for John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. 1968 also saw Hiseman join Mayall’s band, with the two of them appearing on the Bare Wires record. Colosseum was next, a plan to combine jazz and rock and allow each individual talent to thrive within a group framework. Hiseman, Heckstall Smith and Dave Greenslade were part of the group’s 1969 albums, Those Who Are About to Die Salute You (Reeves hailing from Mayall). These two men were replaced by Farlowe Clempson, Clarke and Clarke before Colosseum Live (1971) and Daughter of Time (1970). Hiseman made the difficult decision to end the band and each member went on their own. Even though they were following their own musical paths, loyal fans and eager promoters kept pushing for Colosseum’s re-form. Hiseman, whose diary was jammed with various musical projects, always refused to listen to the requests. Greenslade’s 50th Birthday party was the turning point. His Colosseum friends, with the exception American-based Clarke, were invited as surprise guests. Hiseman was then left in the midst of the rest. He was actually manipulated by circumstances. His post-Colosseum work had been done primarily with his wife and she had recently decided she wanted to focus more on classical music than jazz. Hiseman saw space ahead, enough to put the wheels in motion for Colosseum. Even though the band had a deep and enduring love, there was some surprise at the speed with which promoters offered dates for a return European tour. This is in addition to how the fans received them, many of whom were not born when the split. The new studio album was promoted in the latter part of ’97 by a further series of concert hall shows in Germany and Italy. Colosseum was the end of all roads. Hiseman, now 61, says that the climate was perfect. One of the secrets to this business is being able to recognize when things are right. It was right for Colosseum to be formed, and it was right not to stop it. It was right that we waited until 94 in order to revive it. If we had done it seven to eight years earlier it would not have been as successful. It’s just my gut feeling, but I am certain it is true. The main reason the group split was due to his instinct. He says, “I believe that bands are living things” and that they have a kind natural life. We’d already done the live album, which was a huge success. I thought that we couldn’t do anything as good …… Hiseman recommended that Clempson accept the offer to replace Peter Frampton as Humble Pie’s lead singer. He said that I was unsure if I would continue. “I told him that we’ve achieved what we set out for – but it could be downhill from here on.” Hiseman declared that the Colosseum had reached the end. Hiseman has been involved in various jazz ventures, including the management of Tempest and Colosseum II with Gary Moore. Hiseman has been a frequent collaborator with Barbara Thompson, playing with her electric folk/jazz band Paraphernalia and composing together for TV and Film. Jon’s production and Barbara’s Saxophone were responsible for the theme song for ITV’s hit series, “A Touch of Frost.” They are both founders of “The United Jazz,” a long-running band of bandleaders.

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