PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh jazz guitar legend Joe Negri, who can still strum at age 92, was celebrated on Saturday at Duquesne University.
Negri is marking his 45th year as an adjunct jazz guitar professor at the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne, where he founded the jazz guitar department in 1973.
Considered an advocate for Pittsburgh area guitarists, Negri has taught hundreds of students one-on-one during his more than four decades at the School of Music. The Mount Washington native began playing ukulele before he fell in love with the guitar at age 8; and by 16, he was touring with a top swing band. Negri, who also plays piano, bass, banjo and mandolin, also is a composer who has written several documentary film scores.
As a guitarist, Negri has appeared with renowned artists including Tony Bennett, Andy Williams, YoYo Ma, Itzhak Pearlman, John Williams, both Wynton and Branford Marsalis, and Michael Feinstein, who featured Negri on his 2010 album, Fly Me to the Moon.
Nearly 17 years after Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood went off the air, Negri is still recognized around the country as “Handyman Negri,” the lovable character he played for more than 35 years on the classic PBS kids show.