Jon’s family have generously suggested that donations can be made in memory of Jon Hiseman to the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, which he supported enthusiastically over many years.

If you would like to make a donation to the National Youth Jazz Orchestra in memory of Jon Hiseman, please click here.


In Memory of Jon Hiseman

Jon Hiseman was a British drummer, composer and progressive-rock innovator, who sadly passed away in the early hours of Tuesday morning, 12 June 2018. He 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. Jon married saxophonist and composer Barbara Thompson MBE in 1979. He is survived by her, as well as his son Marcus; his daughter, the singer Ana Gracey; a sister, Jill Hiseman; and four grandchildren.

Jon led the bands Colosseum and Tempest, and played in many other groups including his wife’s group, Paraphernalia, in 1979. He also worked extensively with the musical theater composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. He recorded prolifically with his wife, and established a recording studio and a music publishing company, Temple Music.

Jon 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.” 

This obituary was taken from The New York Times. To read the full obituary, please click here.


Jon has been an ambassador for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra since the beginning. He served as a Board Member for many years, and sponsored the Baritone Sax Chair. Jon was one of NYJO’s best advisors and friends, and NYJO will always be grateful to him.


Photos used on this page are credited to Wolfgang Gonaus