Artist Catalog

Colosseum II

Formed: February 19 1975
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  • gary moore

Colosseum II

Colosseum II was a British band formed in 1975 by the former Colosseum drummer and leader, Jon Hiseman, following the 1974 demise of his band Tempest. Hiseman announced his plan to form the band eventually named Colosseum II in November 1974, but only Gary Moore was named as a member. Rehearsals were due to begin on January 1, 1975, but a permanent unit was not finalised until May 1975. Among musicians who almost made the group were Graham Bell, Duncan Mackay and Mark Clarke. The line-up was completed by Don Airey, Neil Murray and Mike Starrs.

The band was oriented toward jazz fusion, much of which was driven by the guitar work of Moore, leading to a much heavier sound than the original Colosseum band. After disappointing sales of the first album, Murray and Starrs were unceremoniously sacked by the band's record label (Bronze) in July 1976.

The band continued with a new record label and a new bass player (John Mole), and recorded two further largely instrumental and still commercially unsuccessful albums. They also performed on Variations with Andrew Lloyd Webber, which also featured Julian Lloyd Webber on cello, Rod Argent on keyboards and Hiseman's wife, Barbara Thompson, on flute and sax. This album reached number 2 on the UK charts.

In August 1978, Moore left to rejoin Thin Lizzy for a fourth spell, and Airey's brother Keith Airey replaced him on guitar. Plans for a fourth album fell through when Don Airey decided to join Rainbow in December 1978. Jon Hiseman in the near 40 years has toured with Colosseum, releasing several albums, however with the passing of Dick Heckstall Smith c. 2006. Clem Clempson is also part of that effort and has his own webpage. The material presented here is a good reference, and since few know of these musicians, it is difficult to document from paper sources things gone long since.
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