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Mel Bay Records: Year One

by Gerald Miller
Marketing and Public Relations

Time flies when you're having fun! It's been 10 months since the first CD was released on Mel Bay Records, so here's a progress report on the new label.

First, a quick word on our overall focus: We began with an emphasis on jazz guitar, with the goal of eventually adding other guitar styles to our catalog.

Corey Christiansen, senior editor for Mel Bay Publications and a world-class jazz guitarist, released Awakening in June of 2004. The recording features Per Danielsson on piano, Mark Neuenschwander on bass, and Danny Gottlieb, formerly of the Pat Metheny Group, on drums.

Awakening recently hit # 16 on the JazzWeek national radio survey and has spent 9 weeks on the chart, an impressive performance for an artist's first CD and the first release on a new label. Equally impressive is that the title track, one of Corey's original compositions, consistently receives the most airplay from the recording.

Our second release - Solo, by Philadelphia-guitarist Jimmy Bruno - came out in November of 2004. Jimmy has an extensive fan base, and the CD is receiving outstanding reviews, both of which are generating positive buzz for Mel Bay Records.

We recently sent Solo to over 250 jazz stations to give more listeners a chance to hear this beautiful recording. You're welcome to contact me at gmiller@melbay.com for information on jazz programs in your area.

We re-released Christmas Jazz Guitar, recorded in 2002 by popular New York guitarist Jack Wilkins, for the 2004 holiday season. A perfect gift for every music lover, the recording is sure to become a perennial favorite.

Bruce Saunders, who's releasing a new CD on our label later this year, joined Jimmy, Jack and Corey for a Mel Bay Records concert at the Great American Guitar Show in Philadelphia last November. You can read an article on this event in the February issue of Just Jazz Guitar at www.justjazzguitar.com.

Developing ties with music clubs and festivals is one of the greatest challenges for a new record label. Jimmy, Jack and Corey all perform regularly at the Jazz Café at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Corey performed at the 2005 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in February and made his third appearance at John Pisano's Guitar Night at Spazio in Los Angeles during the Winter NAMM convention in January.

Dave Stryker, who's releasing Big City on Mel Bay Records in June, joined Jimmy onstage at Chris' Jazz Café in Philadelphia last month. Dave's new CD features David Kikoski on piano, Ed Howard on bass, and Victor Lewis on drums. Chris' is one of Jimmy Bruno's favorite venues, and Corey and Jack appeared with him there while in town for the Great American Guitar Show in November.

A Second Look, the latest CD from New York guitarist Vic Juris, is another of our eagerly awaited projects. The recording, featuring Dave Liebman on saxophones, Jay Anderson on bass, and Tim Horner on drums, will be released later this month. Our promotional machinery is already in high gear for the new CDs from Vic and Dave, and everyone working on the recordings is looking forward to great results.

CDs, of course, are only part of the Mel Bay Records catalog. We currently carry five DVDs, including Frank Vignola's Gypsy Jazz Jam, consistently one of our best sellers. Jazz fans are always asking about our forthcoming DVDs, including recordings from Peter Bernstein and Bucky Pizzarelli coming out later this year.

We're running full-page ads for all of our CDs in Guitar Player and 20th Century Guitar. You can check out our catalog and release schedule at http://www.MelBayRecords.com.

Thanks for your interest in Mel Bay Records. You'll be hearing more from us in the future.

Gerry Miller

Contact Editor   |   Visit our main web site - www.melbay.com

To purchase Mel Bay products::
* Check your local music store
* Call 1-800-8-MEL-BAY (800-863-5229) or
* Online retailers

For a catalog: call 1-800-8-MEL-BAY (800-863-5229)
or e-mail email@melbay.com

Mel Bay Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2002 Mel Bay Publications, Inc. All Rights Reserved.