Blues harpist Richard ‘Rosy’ Rosenblatt set up a basement recording studio and started Tone-Cool Recording Studio in 1985. The name was based on a rather obscene French pun. He began with his own 11th Hour Band, T.Blade & The Esquires (ex-Cars Manager Steve Berkowitz’s band), Dennis Brennan’s Push Push, Paul Rishell, ‘Earring’ George Merriweather and the ‘Boston Blues Blast’ compilation. Rosy spent the next twenty years as President and/or CEO of Tone Cool, with a staff including Chris Axworthy, Michael Dunford, Greg Reisch, Tabitha Kahlhamer, Jenny Reynolds, Matt Cornell and David Bartlett — who served as Label Manager and later as President while Rosenblatt was CEO. Tone-Cool released more than fifty records, and worked with amazing artists including Sean Costello, Susan Tedeschi, the North Mississippi All-Stars, Hubert Sumlin, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Alvin Youngblood Hart and many others. Wearing the many hats of artist, engineer, and producer and executive producer, Tone-Cool artists earned a certified gold record, multiple Grammy nominations and a ton of W.C. Handy Awards for blues music. In 2004, due to the changing realities of the Independent Record business, Tone-Cool became a division of v2/Artemis Records where he stayed on as President until 2006.
In 2007, with Muddy Waters band vet Bob Margolin and publishing magnate Chip Eagle, Rosy started the Vizztone Label Group. Vizztone is based on the principle that artists should own their own masters and publishing and they work with musicians and small labels on a cooperative basis. The label started with releases by Bob Margolin, Pinetop Perkins, Dave Gross, Gina Sicilia, ‘Monster’ Mike Welch and Super Chikan. The label’s records have received many awards and nominations and a high point was at the 2011 Blues Music Awards, held by the Blues Foundation in Memphis. Out of all the blues labels in the world Vizztone got three out of the five nominations for ‘Best New Artist Debut’– Chris O’Leary, Peter Parcek and eventual winner Matt Hill. Since their founding they have released more than eighty albums from artists including Debbie Davies, David Maxwell, Louisiana Red, Trampled Underfoot, Sean Costello, Erin Harpe & The Delta Swingers, Mac Arnold, Mitch Woods, Doug Deming, Dennis Gruenling, Pete Anderson, the Phantom Blues Band, James Montgomery, Candye Kane, Little G Weevil, Brandon Santini, Robin Mckelle, Mighty Mike Schermer, Lara Price and many more.
(by A.J. Wachtel)
Published on May 24, 2016