Colosseum II

Colosseum II was a British progressive jazz-rock band formed in 1975 by former Colosseum drummer and bandleader Jon Hiseman, which featured guitarist Gary Moore.


Following the demise of his previous band, Tempest, Hiseman announced his plan for a new, as yet unnamed, outfit in November 1974, but only Moore was named as a member. Rehearsals were due to begin on 1 January 1975 but a permanent line-up was not finalised until May 1975. Among the musicians considered were singer Graham Bell, keyboardist Duncan Mackay and former Colosseum and Tempest bassist Mark Clarke. The line-up was eventually completed by singer Mike Starrs, keyboardist Don Airey and bassist Neil Murray. 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.

After disappointing sales of their first album, Strange New Flesh, Murray left and Starrs was sacked in July 1976. They continued with a new record label and a new bass player, John Mole, and recorded two further, largely instrumental, but 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.


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