Joe Negri

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Joe Negri performs with Carnegie Mellon University's 6:30 Jazz Band at Carnegie Music Hall.

Joseph Harold "Joe" Negri (born 1926) is a jazz guitarist and educator from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[1] During his years as musical director at WTAE-TV, he appeared on the former children's television show Paul Shannon's Adventure Time and other locally produced shows on the station. Pianist and fellow Pennsylvanian Johnny Costa appeared along with Joe on the 1954 TV series, 67 Melody Lane, hosted by Ken Griffin. Johnny and Joe played two numbers, After You've Gone and Little Brown Jug, the latter being accompanied by Griffin at the organ.

He also appeared as regular cast member, "Handyman Negri", on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.[1] Currently he teaches jazz guitar as an adjunct professor at Duquesne University,[1] the University of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University.

Joe began performing on radio at age three, playing the ukulele and singing. By age 15, he had been playing guitar for nearly 10 years. He joined the local musicians union and began playing his first professional engagements. In the 1940s, Joe toured nationally, and was featured, with the Shep Fields Orchestra for several years. His career was then sidetracked by two years in the Army.

Upon returning home, he performed locally with his brother, pianist Bobby Negri,[1] and decided to return to school. He enrolled at Carnegie Mellon University (formerly Carnegie Tech). At that time there was no curriculum for jazz guitar, so he chose composition as his major. He also taught guitar to many students, including Ralph Patt,[2] the inventor of major-thirds tuning;[3][4] Negri and Patt recorded in 1989.[5]

It was during this time he began his career in the then new medium of television, spending a few years with KDKA-TV, followed by 22 years as Musical Director for WTAE-TV. It was through his work in television that he met, and worked with Fred Rogers, who soon asked him to participate in a new show Rogers was putting together in association with WQED-TV, the local public broadcasting affiliate. As Handyman Negri, Joe was a resident of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood for nearly 40 years.[1]

Negri remains active in the jazz scene, recording and performing locally and nationally, and is still active in music education.[1] In 2010 he recorded a CD with Michael Feinstein,[1] with whom he also performed at the 2011 Newport Jazz Festival. He was the subject of an in-depth profile in Vintage Guitar Magazine's September 2010 issue, written by music historian Rich Kienzle.


  • Fly Me to the Moon, Michael Feinstein, featuring guitar legend Joe Negri (2010)
  • Dream Dancing (2010)
  • Uptown Elegance (July 2004)
  • Guitars for Christmas (2003)
  • Afternoon in Rio (July 1998)
  • Mass of Hope (1997)


  • A Common Sense Approach to Improvisation for Guitar (Mel Bay Publications, 2002)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Rose, Joel (9 August 2010). "Joe Negri: From handyman to jazz guitarist". All Things Considered (NPR, National Public Radio). Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  2. ^ Patt, Ralph (14 April 2008). "Biography". Ralph Patt's jazz web page. Biography: Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Griewank (2010, p. 1): Griewank, Andreas (1 January 2010), Tuning guitars and reading music in major thirds, Matheon preprints 695, Rosestr. 3a, 12524 Berlin, Germany: DFG research center "MATHEON, Mathematics for key technologies" Berlin, Postscript file and Pdf file 
  4. ^ Patt, Ralph (14 April 2008). "The major 3rd tuning". Ralph Patt's jazz web page. Ralph Patt for 6-, 7-, and 8-string guitars: cited by Sethares (2011) and Griewank (2010, p. 1). Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  5. ^ Slater, Neil; LaRocco, Dave; Negri, Joe; Patt, Ralph; Ryan, Rodger (1989). "Streaming audio index: Audio clips". Like Someone in Love. Ralph Patt's Jazz Web Page, Retrieved 16 December 2012. 

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