In 1999, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust honored me by naming me the Established Artist of the Year. I remember telling them that my career has been a work in progress since age three.
As a child performer, I performed on radio and appeared in theatrical and stage productions throughout the tri-state area. I was even chosen to become one of Pittsburgh's Stars of Tomorrow. A voice change shattered my confidence and I stopped performing. Shortly after, I began to seriously study the guitar.
By age sixteen, I was playing well enough to win a job with one of the country's top swing bands. I soon became a featured member of the band and traveled nationally with them for about two years. Though the army briefly sidetracked my career, it by no means stopped it. I was fortunate enough to meet up with several top-notch jazz musicians and together we continued to develop our musical skills.
In the early 50's, I enrolled at CMU (Carnegie Tech) and I picked up some important musical training and overall grooming. I feel very strongly that these years rounded me as a person and prepared me for the work that was still to come. Following CMU, I landed a job in the brand new media of television. It was the start of a forty-year career. My TV work began at KDKA-TV where I headed up my own trio and following that, I spent some twenty years at WTAE-TV (Pittsburgh's ABC affiliate) as an on the air performer and musical director.
Joe is not only the best royal handyman in the neighborhood, he's a consummate jazz musician who delights us all. --Fred Rogers
Hey Joe, Wow these cd's are a home run! These are among the best jazz guitar cd's I've ever heard. I've never heard a jazz guitar improvisor with so much taste, class, and swing in their playing. I just thought I'd send you an email. Great job! --Tom Mowrey, Guitarist, Singer and Songwriter
Negri is a master jazz guitarist who converses with the Brazilian lexicon with the ease, rhythm and flair of a hard working Carioca musician, It's obvious from the opening statement, Jobim's O Grande Amor that here's a musician steeped in the technical know-how of his instrument, but what's surprising about Afternoon In Rio, is how warm, beautifully understated and smooth most of the album is. --Mark Ruffin, The Brazilian Music Review