Rich Kienzle

Rich Kienzle



For decades, Joe Negri was close to both Henry and Elsie Hillman. He played at many of their private functions. Both were present at Negri's October, 2011 All Star Tribute, held at the Carnegie Library Music Hall in Carnegie.

Negri, who at 90 continues to teach guitar at Duquesne University and Pitt, has been doing fewer gigs as of late in order to focus on preparing a new, three volume set of guitar arrangements of pop and jazz standards, movie and TV themes and other material. He's not retired from performing and expects to announce other engagements later this year.

Reflecting on Hillman, he said, "He loved music and jazz...was a big fan of Art Tatum    and Johnny Costa …. He knew the American Songbook and good tunes. Great guy."


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My look at Triplicate, Bob Dylan's new three-disc pop standards album, continuing the concepts of Shadows In The Night and Fallen Angels.

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deslondes-hurry home cover

Nearly two years ago, an album crossed my path that amazed and delighted me. The band was one of whom I'd never heard: the Deslondes. Raw, acoustic-oriented and loose, rooted in the rockabilly and country of Louisiana, they more lived up to their name (a famous street in the Holy Cross part of New Orleans).

Here's what I said on my "Believe Your Ears" music podcast.

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A Virtuoso Departs: RIP Jay Geils

Thursday, 13 April 2017 06:18



jgeilsBefore he died Monday at 71,  J. Geils or "Jay" as many knew him, had a hell of a career. The band bearing the guitarist's name blew out of Boston in 1970, with a widely praised album on Atlantic Records and a clearly defined musical personality that drew deeply on vintage blues, R&B and Soul delivered with fresh irreverence and unswerving musical excellence. The classic lineup were: Geils, Peter Wolf, vocals; Magic Dick Salwitz, harmonica; Seth Justman, keyboards; Danny Klein, bass; Stephen Jo Bladd, drums.  Geils, however, ceased to work with the band bearing his name in 2012.

 What follows are but a few of his many notable musical moments.

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gabriel securty cover

NO SPOILERS: FX's The Americans doesn't always utilize music, though they did a few episodes back when they used Alabama's country hit "Old Flame" and Roxy Music's "More Than This" in the episode "The Midges." In general, the music selected for the show parallels the 1980's Cold War era in which the show takes place.

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NO SPOILERS. "Mabel," Monday night's Season 3 premiere of Better Call Saul literally picks up from Season 2's final moments. The musical interlude, however, as in previous episodes, came early, during the show's black-and-white "flash forward" moments (the present day).

Is it a "drug song?" Well, read on.

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 My review of Nashville singer Jessi Colter's gospel album "The Psalms"

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Don Rickles: Video Early And Rare

Thursday, 06 April 2017 16:33

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AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Don Rickles' death at 90 guarantees days of tributes and video clips.  Rather than add the obvious, I've picked out some that are well off the beaten path.

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Producer Tommy Li Puma's Musical Legacy

Tuesday, 04 April 2017 08:52

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Last month, jazz and pop record producer Tommy Li Puma, a Cleveland native and former barber died at 80 in New York City. LiPuma, who began in record marketing, moved to production in 1965 when he worked at Liberty Records. You can read the details of his life in this extensive New York Times obituary by Ben Sisario. These clips show his legacy from his first production to near the end.

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My review of veteran Nashville singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell's album Close Ties. 

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