Joe Negri

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Joe Negri
Joe Negri.jpg
Joe Negri performs with Carnegie Mellon University's 6:30 Jazz Band at Carnegie Music Hall
Background information
Birth name Joseph Harold Negri
Born (1926-06-10) June 10, 1926 (age 91)
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, educator
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1929–present

Joseph Harold Negri (born June 10, 1926) is an American jazz guitarist and educator.[1]

During his years as musical director at WTAE-TV, he appeared on Paul Shannon's children's television show Adventure Time and other locally produced shows on the station.

Pianist and fellow Pennsylvanian Johnny Costa appeared Negri on the 1954 TV series, 67 Melody Lane, hosted by Ken Griffin. They played two songs: "After You've Gone" and "Little Brown Jug" the latter accompanied by Griffin at the organ. He also recorded with The Three Suns.

He appeared as "Handyman Negri" on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.[1] He has taught jazz guitar at Duquesne University,[1] University of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University.


External video
Joe Negri Interview, 2:24, MCGJazz

Joe Negri began performing on radio at age three, playing the ukulele and singing. By age 15, Negri 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 Lonfellow Negri. 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 Mister 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. He has donated his works and other documentation related to his music to The University of Pittsburgh Archives.


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

Joe Negri archives[edit]

The Joe Negri archives consist of the collection of manuscripts, recordings, memorabilia, and original hand-written scores that document his life, work and influence. The collection was donated by Negri in 1999 to the Center for American Music within the University Library System (ULS) at the University of Pittsburgh. The donation became the 1,000th collection at the ULS to have an electronically-accessible "finding aid" (i.e., a guide that describes the contents of an archival collection and creator).[6][7][8] The archives contains correspondence, commissioned commercial musical compositions, scores, recordings and television archival footage. His donation also included his college coursework, compositions written for the River City Brass Band, television scores, commercial jingles, and film work.[7][9] Companies that commissioned work from Negri included McDonald's, Alcoa, Kaufmann's, and Westinghouse Electric Corporation.

Other works[edit]

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


  1. ^ a b c d e f Rose, Joel (August 9, 2010). "Joe Negri: From handyman to jazz guitarist". All Things Considered. NPR, National Public Radio. Retrieved October 4, 2012. 
  2. ^ Patt, Ralph (14 April 2008). "Biography". Ralph Patt's jazz web page. Biography: Retrieved August 10, 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, MSC-Classification 97M80 Arts. Music. Language. Architecture. Postscript file and Pdf file 
  4. ^ Patt, Ralph (April 14, 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 June 10, 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. 
  6. ^ "Joe Negri Archives". Benedetto Guitars. Retrieved September 28, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Joe Negri collection". Guides to Archives and Manuscript Collections at the University of Pittsburgh Library System. Retrieved September 28, 2015. 
  8. ^ Tipping, Emily. "Joe Negri Donates Musical Collection to Pitt". Pitt Campaign Chronicle. University of Pittsburgh. Archived from the original on June 30, 2015. Retrieved October 15, 2015. 
  9. ^ Barlow, Kimberly K. "Guides untangle 1,000 ULS collections". University Times. Retrieved September 28, 2015. 

Further reading[edit]



  • Chapman, Charles. (2001). "Joe Negri (September 1999)". Interviews with the Jazz Greats... and More!. Pacific, MO: Mel Bay Publications. pp. 48–50.
  • Negri, Joe (2002). A Common Sense Approach to Improvisation for Guitar. Pacific, MO: Mel Bay.
  • Barth, Joe (2006). Voices in Jazz Guitar : Great Performers Talk About Their Approach to Playing. Pacific, MO : Mel Bay.

External links[edit]