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Mel Bay Enters Record Biz

Mel Bay Publications, Inc. has been helping aspiring musicians learn how to play their instruments for years with its series of instructional books and videos, but now, apparently tired of trying only to evoke good music from amateurs, the company will start releasing music itself. Mel Bay Records, a new division of the Mel Bay empire, recently announced its entry into the recording industry with the formation of a jazz label, Guitar Sessions, which will record and produce some of today’s top jazz musicians.

Guitar Sessions’ first series of releases will feature new albums by jazz guitarists Jimmy Bruno, Joe Diorio, Vic Juris, Bruce Saunders and Corey Christiansen (pictured), as well as concert DVDs from Peter Bernstein, Jimmy Bruno, Jack Wilkins and Frank Vignola. The label will also be releasing a recent documentary on renowned luthier Robert Benedetto. The release of Christiansen’s new CD, Awakening, has been set for June 1 and is already receiving favorable reviews.

Mel Bay is not abandoning its didactic nature completely, however. A companion transcription book containing recorded solos and a play-along CD will be sold for each album released on Guitar Sessions, so that not only can you buy the music, but you can also pay extra money to learn how to play it. All Guitar Sessions CDs will also include enhanced features that will allow listeners to watch video clips of studio sessions and performances, read musician biographies and view their gear.

While going from book publishing to album producing may seem like a big jump for the St. Louis-based company, William Bay president of Mel Bay Publications does not seem concerned. In a press release Bay stated that, “CD production is not a completely new idea to Mel Bay. To date we have produced over a thousand different instructional CDs. Since so many of our writers are truly great performers, we thought the next logical step was to produce their studio recordings.”

More information on Mel Bay Records and Guitar Sessions can be found at

Originally Published