NJYO, JCM, friends and family pay tribute to drumming don Jon Hiseman

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Hiseman Tribute1

As Jon Hiseman would say: “If you are going to do something, do it properly.” Certainly the tribute concert to the legendary drummer was done with all the skill and dedication his memory deserved.

Jon’s daughter Ana Gracey organised an event that presented an ever changing cavalcade of performers representing different facets of Hiseman’s career, from the days of Graham Bond, John Mayall and Colosseum to his work with Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia and NYJO. The result was a show full of surprises that drew cheers from the 800-strong audience at a packed 02 in Shepherd's Bush.

Technical feats were achieved by the use of a video wall and Jon himself seemed to come alive, talking, playing and even drumming, synchronised with the stream of ‘live’ performances on the crowded stage. Jon’s son Marcus emphasised proceeds from the show would be donated to the Cure Parkinson’s Trust and Jon’s wife Barbara Thompson received an ovation when she recalled how she met her future husband at a NYJO rehearsal when she was a 19-year-old saxophone player. Ana sang songs from her new album, Wicked Games, with jazzy versions of popular songs ‘Stay With Me’ and the Prince classic 'Cream', backed by Peter Lemer (keyboards), Adrian Revell (sax), Phil Mulford (bass) and Tom Hutch (drums). 

Michael Robert Williams Colosseum Jon Hiseman Tribute Concert Shepherds Bush Empire London 2nd Feb 2019 I2654

JCM, the trio Jon formed last year with Clem Clempson (guitar) and Mark Clarke (bass and vocals) was reunited with drum meister Ralph Salmins. They blasted through numbers from their Heroes album, including 'The Inquisition' a terrifyingly fast Gary Moore-penned jazz-rock instrumental with Don Airey on organ. NYJO opened the second set with a powerful brass-and-reed section, Alex Temple Heald on drums and Billy Thompson back on violin.

A highlight was the hypnotic ‘Sax Rap’ with a synchronised video of Barbara playing tenor along with the band. More guest stars joined the party with Pete Brown singing ‘Morning Story’ and Chris Farlowe roaring into the Colosseum favourite ‘Walking in the Park’. Only Jon Hiseman himself could top the show, and the video of him soloing with double-bass drums and cymbals afire provided an astonishing climax.

Chris Welch
– Photos by Michael Robert Williams