It is hard to describe music in Pittsburgh without first mentioning the name Joe Negri. A legendary figure with an enormous capacity for sharing his love of jazz, Joe (b. 6-10-26) has managed to easily straddle the line between performing artist and educator. At home with the symphony, in the classroom at Carnegie Mellon or Duquesne University, teaching young children with his “Jazz in the Neighborhood” program, or with a jazz quartet at a nightclub or society party, Joe is the quintessential professional guitarist/educator. Of course, millions of children (over several generations) remember him as Handyman Negri from the PBS Show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. But jazz guitarists think of him as a dedicated, knowledge-filled, versatile straight-ahead player with elder-statesman status and common sense approach to music.
Joe Negri with his Bravo Model. (Photo by David Aschkenas)