Ron Helman (born August 18, 1951) is an American jazz musician and flugelhorn player living in Los Olivos, California.
His first album, In the Shadows, was produced in 2003. His second album, Reflections of Beauty, was produced in 2006 and won the 2007 New Mexico Music Award for "Best Performance." His latest album, It Never Entered My Mind, was produced in 2016 with a legendary lineup of musicians that include Mike Mainieri, David Spinozza, Rachel Z. Hakim, James Genus,Joel Rosenblatt and special guests Ann Hampton Callaway and Steve Wilson.
Before becoming a jazz musician, as well as a life and business coach, Helman worked as a professional dancer, faculty member at the Julliard Drama Department, personal trainer, and manager for jazz and pop musicians.
Ron is married to Diane Dorsey, a jewelry designer and goldsmith.
Ron Helman was born and raised in Freehold, NJ, to Rebecca (Leach) Helman and Chester Helman. His brothers are Howard Helman and Kenneth Helman.
He attended Howell High School, in Freehold, NJ, and graduated in 1969. As a member of the Howell High School gymnastics team, one of his best events was tumbling. One of his childhood memories was teaching his friends how to do back handsprings and flips. From a very young age, coaching came naturally to him. Ron also played lead trumpet in every musical organization he could, including
marching band, wind ensemble, musical theater and his own band that covered Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.
Ron's father was a clarinet and alto sax player in the Army during WWII. Later he became a bandleader playing in clubs throughout New Jersey. Ron joined his father's band at the age of 15 playing popular dance music of the 30's, 40's and 50's. On his first solo band gig, Ron's father booked him, unbeknownst to Ron, at a nudist colony. That evening the dance floor was filled with men wearing nothing but bowties and women in nothing but high heels.
At the age of 16, Ron commuted via New Jersey transit bus to Port Authority, New York and walked four blocks to the studio of renowned teacher Carmine Caruso for trumpet lessons and played "long tones for days."
Ron studied trumpet at William Penn College, University of Tampa, and West Chester State University. He had music and gymnastics scholarships at several schools. After college, he went on to study classical trumpet with Gerard Schwartz (principal trumpeter of the New York Philharmonic), Mark Gould (principal trumpeter of Metropolitan Opera Orchestra), and Louis Opalesky (Philadelphia Orchestra). He moved to New York City in 1973, but at that point he put the trumpet aside to pursue a completely different career.
Career in New York City
In New York, he performed with Musawwir Dance Theater under director Toby Towson (1976-1979) and the New York Pantomime
Theater (1979-1983) under Moni and Mina Yakim. He performed as leading actor in Director Moni Yakim's theater company,which
included a performance in Carnegie Hall with the St. Luke's Orchestra. In addition, he performed the lead role Pan in the long-running Off-Broadway production of Tales of the Goatman.
He also worked as a gymnastics, acrobatics, and dance coach at elite private NYC schools, the Juilliard School Drama Department (1980-87), Circle in the Square, and his own studio, Ron's C-57 Movement Arts Studio (1983-1991) in Carnegie Hall. At his studio, he worked with a wide range of celebrities including Sting, Al Pacino, Julianne Moore, Annabella Sciorra, Chris Noth, Mary Kay Place, film director Boaz Yakin, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Calvin Klein, Candace Bushnell, Bianca Jagger, Carey Lowell, Donna de Varona, and thousands of New York professionals.
He eventually went on to start a music management company called Mileshigh Artist Management, (1985-1993). Ron managed top
jazz and pop talent securing recording contracts, publishing deals, and world tours. A few of his artists included Regina Carter, Rachel Z. Hakim, Alex Sipiagin, Billy Porter, and other New York talent. He also produced an album for Columbia Records, called Dance Beneath the Diamond Sky with Vacca/Moran under the direction of renowned A&R and Head of Jazz, Dr. George Butler. It was during this time period that Ron met many iconic NYC jazz musicians that he would later draw upon for creating It Never Entered My Mind.
Career in Santa Fe, NM
Helman moved to Santa Fe in 1996 where he entered the world of life and business coaching. He received his training and coaching certification at Coach U, and is a member of the International Coach Federation. Ron produced and starred in his own TV show, Best Life Ever, which aired on a Santa Fe public television station.
Shortly after moving to Santa Fe, he picked up his horn again at the age of 44. The expansive environment of New Mexico inspired Ron to open up his dusty case, pull out the horn and say, "I want to be a jazz musician." In his teens and early twenties, Helman played classical trumpet. After twenty years without playing, he decided to play jazz. He said, "The most profound thing was that I was immediately a much better player than when I left off, because of the twenty years of life I had lived and the culture that I experienced, and the music I listened to."
He began to study jazz by transcribing his favorite Miles Davis album, Kind of Blue. Soon he was performing in clubs and restaurants in Santa Fe, Taos, and Albuquerque with his own small jazz group, The Ron Helman Jazz Ensemble.
In December 2009, he played "Georgia on my Mind" to an audience of 200,000 penguins in Antarctica. He was on an expedition with National Geographic when he made this memorable flugelhorn performance. A writer from the Explorer crew wrote, "It was the first time we've ever received a request from a guest to play the flugelhorn in front of thousands of penguins, but how could we resist!" In addition, Ron had the opportunity to spend time with astronaut Neil Armstrong, and played Brahms Lullaby at a ceremony at Ernest Shakleton's gravesite.
It Never Entered My Mind
Produced by Mike Mainieri and co-produced by David Spinozza, with a cast of iconic musicians, It Never Entered My Mind (July 2016) explores the jazz standard with a unique blend of grace and love. In a way, this album is Ron's autobiographical catalyst, sharing his story in only the way music can.
In preparing for this album, Ron worked with pianist Jim Ahrend and famed jazz trumpeter Bobby Shew.
Along with Mike Mainieri, the lineup includes David Spinozza, Rachel Z. Hakim, James Genus, Joel Rosenblatt, and special guests, Ann Hampton Callaway, and Steve Wilson. It was recorded at NRS Studios, in Woodstock, NY, with Scott Petito.
It Never Entered My Mind, 2016
Reflections of Beauty, 2006
In the Shadows, 2003
Honors, Decorations, Awards, And Distinctions
Reflections of Beauty won the 2007 New Mexico Music Award for "Best Performance."