From "Cockeyed Optimist" from South Pacific by Rodgers and Hammerstein
"Caravan" from my CD, "Uptown Elegance"
Hi and a belated Happy New year to all of you.
I guess you can call me a "cockeyed optimist", immature, and incurably green, but "I'm stuck like a dope with a thing called hope" and I'm looking forward to another year.
January always looks a bit bleak. Traditionally there's not much work especially for "jazz" musicians. But, things have a way of picking up. Like it says in the song: "I hear the human race is falling on its face." That's true to some degree but maybe this is the year we can begin to come to our senses, put away the guns, and start trying to act like human beings. Sorry for the "lecture" but I told you I was a cockeyed optimist.
Just starting another year of teaching at Pitt and Duquesne. It's been quite a run and one that I've certainly enjoyed. Geri Allen has begun her tenure as head of the jazz department at Pitt. Geri is planning more student/faculty involvement and we're also trying to put together a faculty/student project for spring. Stay tuned. Duquesne continues to be musically uplifting. I have several good students who will be doing senior recitals this spring.
The one "blue" note at Duquesne is that we still have not been able to reach our goal on the Joe Negri Jazz Guitar Scholarship Fund. Check out the information on our web site and we would love to hear from you. You can help to push us over the top.
The calendar is a bit bare at the moment, but there are several things on the horizon. I will continue to appear at the Omni Wm. Penn in town on the third Friday of each month. I'll be there next week with the talented Jeff Lashway.
I'm looking forward to a special date in March with a wonderful new "jazz ensemble" Firm Roots. This talented group of jazz musicians is lead by my good friend – drummer Tom Wendt and have dedicated themselves to the preservation of jazz. A noble cause indeed. We'll be doing a special concert at James Street on the North Side on the 28th of March. Stay tuned for more on that date.
The work in progress goes on with my book "One Guitar". With Max Leake"s help we will try to get some mp3's on to the web site so you'll be able to hear samples of some of the arrangements.
Well, I think I've rambled on long enough. All the best to you and lets hope the new year turns out well and, that it will not be just another "cockeyed optimists" dream.
P.S.: don't forget to visit my e store and check out other highlights on the site. My thanks to Max Leake for his superb handling of the web site. What a Renaissance man.
There is a new guitar chart of "Here, There and Everywhere" celebrating the Beatles 50th on the "Tips" page.
Check out a couple of videos below of performances old and new!
Check out my updated Calender of Engagements.
Video from Post-Gazette Story on Joe
Video of Joe and Johnny Costa on the Ken Griffin Show (circa 1955)
Video of the Gershwin Medley with the Wheeling Symphony