born on 23/10/1956 in Paris, TX, United States
died on 20/6/2009 in Herrin, IL, United States
Joel Edward Helleny (born October 23, 1956, Paris, Texas d. June 20, 2009, Herrin, Illinois) was an American jazz trombonist.
Helleny learned piano from his mother as a child but settled on trombone by age seven. He attended the University of Illinois before moving to New York City in 1979. There he played with Mel Lewis, Roy Eldridge (1979), and Benny Goodman (1980-82) before returning to Lewis's band in 1983. He was a featured soloist on the soundtrack to the 1984 movie The Cotton Club. He played with Vince Giordano's Memphis Nighthawks, and then with the same ensemble after Giordano left it in 1986. He worked with Buck Clayton (198990), Jimmy McGriff (1990), George Wein (1990 and subsequently), Frank Wess (1991), Randy Sandke, Warren Vache (199395), Kenny Davern (1994), Scott Hamilton (1995), Greg Cohen (1996), and the Keith Ingham/Marty Grosz group Hot Cosmopolites in 1996. He was a member of the New York Allstars in the 1990s. His first release as a leader was 1995's Lip Service, on Arbors Records.
- Gary W. Kennedy, "Joel Helleny". Grove Jazz online.
The Grove Jazz text above contains a critical error conflating the Memphis Nighthawks with Vince Giordano's Nighthawk Orchestra. From 1975 to 1978 Helleny played in the Memphis Nighthawks based in Champaign, Illinois. A Delmark recording, "Jazz Lips" is still available. There are ten videos of the group available to all by on YouTube (search Memphis Nighthawks).