Jon Hiseman, 73, Drummer Who Melded Rock, Jazz and Blues

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Jon Hiseman, 73, Drummer Who Melded Rock, Jazz and Blues

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Jon Hiseman, the British drummer, composer and progressive-rock innovator who led the bands Colosseum and Tempest and played in many other groups, died early Tuesday in Sutton, England. He was 73.
His son, Marcus, said the cause was complications of surgery that Mr. Hiseman underwent in May to remove a brain tumor. He had lived in Sutton, a suburb of London, before entering hospice care there.

Mr. Hiseman was a nimble, hard-hitting player who tuned his drums melodically and kept an improvisational spirit through complex pieces. His music held elements of the classical music he grew up on, the modern jazz and free jazz he played early in his career, and the blues and rock that built his career in 1960s London.

The original Colosseum lasted barely three years, from 1968 to 1971. But the band reunited in the 1990s and continued to perform and record for two decades.

Mr. Hiseman also worked extensively with the musical theater composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. He recorded prolifically with his wife, the saxophonist and composer Barbara Thompson, and established a recording studio and a music publishing company, Temple Music.

He explained his philosophy of drumming in a 2004 interview: “Don’t play the drums, play the band. If you play the band, the drums will play themselves.”

Philip John Hiseman was born on June 21, 1944, in London. He played piano and violin as a child and turned to drums at 12. In his teens, he worked with jazz and R&B groups around London. He also studied accounting.

Mr. Hiseman became a full-time musician in 1966, when he replaced Ginger Baker in a blues band, the Graham Bond Organisation. (Mr. Baker went on to form Cream with Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton.) Mr. Hiseman later worked with the English singer and keyboardist Georgie Fame and with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, appearing on the group’s album “Bare Wires.”

As a studio musician, he performed on Mr. Bruce’s first solo albums, “Things We Like” (1968) and “Songs for a Tailor” (1969). 12-06-2018

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