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Negri brings 'Mister Rogers' to concerts

| Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, 6:20 p.m.
Joe Negri Credit: Joe Negri

Joe Negri will bring a little touch of his “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood” past as well as a great deal of his jazz heritage to this series of concerts with River City Brass.

The guitarist, who also portrayed Handyman Negri on the famed children's series, is the guest for the “Autumn Leaves” concerts that open Oct. 3 at the Beulah Presbyterian Church in Churchill.

Although he is more known for his work in a traditional jazz setting, Negri is no stranger to playing with 28 brass and percussion instruments. He performed with the band in the past when it was under the leadership of Denis Colwell, and this is the first time under current the general director, James Gourlay.

The “Autumn Leaves” concerts are built around familiar songs from Nat King Cole and the Great American Songbook. Negri says he will be performing such standards as “Strike Up the Band,” “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” and a medley of tunes done by the guitarist he brands as his “hero” — Charlie Christian, who is known for his work with the Benny Goodman big band.

He also will be doing a medley from his “Mister Rogers” days.

He also is encouraged that some of the arrangements he will be playing are by Mike Tomaro, director of jazz studies at Duquesne University and an arranger who works with bands nationwide.

The concerts are Oct. 3 at Beulah Presbyterian Church, Churchill; Oct. 4 at Carson Middle School, McCandless; Oct. 5 at the Palace Theatre, Greensburg; Oct. 8 at Upper St. Clair High School; Oct. 10 at Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland; Oct. 11 at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center, Beaver County. All begin 7:30 p.m. Admission: $19-$41. Details: 412-434-7222 or www.rivercitybrass.org.

Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bkarlovits@tribweb.com or 412-320-7852.

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