Don’t know where to begin.

It’s hot outside.

I’ll stay inside.

Got so much to do,

got so much to say,

got to find a way.

Hangin’ in, hanging on,

getting it done,

I’m tuning you out so I

can turn up this song.

I’m hangin’ out.

Going to write it down,

I won’t forget,

rhythm is set.

Got so much to do,

got so much to say,

got to find a way.

Hangin’ in , hangin’ on,

getting it done,

I’m tuning you out so I

can turn up this song.

I’m hangin’ out.

This is something for you.

Another song

for you to sing.

Got so much to do,

got so much to say,

got to find a way.

Hangin’ in, hangin’ on,

getting it done,

I’m tuning you out so I

can turn up this song.

I’m hangin’ out.

After weeks of practice in the drummer’s garage, the power trio was ready to play at the Open mic at the cafe. Between people trying to tell funny jokes, they had fifteen minutes. Rick, the drummer, could not do his eighteen minute drum solo that included a medium sized gong, cowbell and xylophone. Laurie, the flautist and girlfriend of Rick, wanted to do an improvisation . Rick could accompany her on drums and use brushes so the audience could hear her random notes that became a soothing melody that would be more effective than the chamomile tea served by the cafe. Right before they were supposed to go on stage and perform, the bass player and sometime guitarist showed up. He was late and gasping for breath. He had to carry both instruments to the cafe. They did not have enough money or friends to have roadies. Phil apologized to the others, ” Sorry, I’m late but I was listening to ” Perpetual Change” and I was trying to remember the chord changes and I had to hear the whole song several times”. The others accepted his apology and they set up their equipment. The person who announces the next act during this Open Mic was an employee who had to do this as punishment for messing up mocha orders and not making the vegetarian wrap properly. He had long hair and a goatee, wearing a black shirt and denim jeans. He did not look happy when he said ” Next is Menage A Trois, unfortunately it is music.”

The first instrumental was a flute improvisation composed and performed by Laurie with accompaniment by Rick and Phil. Laurie would breathe in and out and her hands would go up and down the instrument as Phil supplied rhythm with his bass guitar and Rick would gently play the drums. An Asian style carpet was underneath the musicians to create an exotic atmosphere. The improvisation had the mystique of Zamfir who was this amazing player from years ago with the rhythmic solos one might hear at a Phish or Grateful Dead show. After the last solo which seemed to go on for hours, it was just two minutes. The music stopped and Phil approached the microphone and asked” Does anyone have any requests?”. Someone from the audience yelled. “‘Yeah, go home and shower!”. A few in the seated and standing crowd giggled and laughed. Another person said, ” Please stop” and threw a bottle of Purified water at the band. Phil breathed deeply and thought to himself, ” Years of practice and studying music theory at an advanced school of music has led me to this”. It was a bad gig.

To sum up Jon Hiseman’s career-” He came, he saw and he played.” What he played was music that could be a mixture of blues, classical, jazz and rock without being bombastic, boring or derivative. Whatever was needed, he provided to a band. He knew when to let loose and when to hold back. The latter is most important, it gives the music space and lets the drummer take a break.

My introduction to Jon Hiseman and Colosseum was in 1988. I was living in Norfolk, Virginia and was seventeen years old. I was familiar with Genesis, Van Der Graaf Generator, Marillion, Stan Getz and Miles Davis. I would visit Skinnies Records and make my purchases. I had learned about Colosseum from the Rolling Stone Record Guide which gave the American version of their debut a favorable review. This is the album I purchased at Skinnies Records. I love this album. This album had everything-great arrangements and great playing – a great combination of blues, classical, jazz and rock. If Procul Harum and Cream had jammed with John Coltrane’s Quartet. It would sound like this album. Before listening to this album, I did not understand or like jazz. After listening to this album, I understood and liked jazz. My favorite tracks are ” Beware The Ides Of March” and the title track. I enjoyed “The Kettle” and the version of Valentyne Suite that has ” Beware The Ides Of March” at the end.

A few years later, I would buy albums of later versions of Colosseum and Colosseum II. Many years after that, I heard his band Tempest and his works with Barbara Thompson . What impressed me is that in each band situation or style of music, his playing was always great. He could compose and play different styles well. His last album with Clem Clempson and Mark Clarke is a great summation of his career. He came, he saw, he played. Now, go listen to his albums.

Going down to the river to pray

with the wind at my back

and the trees are rustling.

For a long time,

I have been away.

Feel the spirit around me.

Many roads have I taken

but I never find right one.

I’m in the wilderness,

just another caught in a rut,

feel the spirit around me.

Going down to the river to pray,

thoughts are lost in the mud.

Here is where I am free.

There is the clear sky overhead.

Feel the spirit around me.

Going down to the river to pray,
with the wind at my back
and the trees are rustling.
For a long time, I’ve been away.
Feel the spirit around me,

going down to the river to feel calm.

Thoughts are lost in the mud.

Here is where I am free.

There is the sky overhead.

Many roads have I taken but
I never  find right one.
I’m in the  wilderness,
just another caught in a rut.
Feel the spirit around me,
going down to the river to  feel calm.
Thoughts are lost in the mud
Here is where I am  free.
There is the sky overhead

Old man depression has me

this morning.

and he won’t let me go.

Like winds blowing

before a hurricane,

rain will be falling soon.

Gonna ride it out,

know what will get me through,

all I have to do,

keep thinking about you.

Can’t seem to get out of bed

this morning

and he won’t let me go.

Sunrise feels like

sunset and the darkness.

I’m looking for the light.

Gonna ride it out,

know what will get me through,

all I have to do,

keep thinking about you.

Gonna get dressed and leave here

this morning,

old man won’t find me there.

Like trains speeding

down rusty wooden tracks,

we”ll reach our destination.

Gonna ride it out,

know what will get me through,

all I have to do,

keep thinking about you.

Some leave too early.

Some will stay too late.

Some are right on time.

Sone know what to say.

Some will find a way.

Some wait for a day.

Some make you feel right.

Some make you feel wrong.

Someone comes along.

Someone stays behind.

Someone makes you strong.

Someone makes you weak.

Sometime love will grow.

Sometime love will fade,

Sometime is today.

Sometime goes away.

Something remembered,

something forgotten,

something I can hold,

something I let go.