Matassa in front of J&M Studio building
April 13, 1926|
New Orleans, Louisiana
September 11, 2014 (aged 88)|
New Orleans, Louisiana
|Occupation||Recording engineer, music studio owner|
|Known for||J&M Recording Studio|
|Awards||Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Blues Hall of Fame, Grammy Trustees Award|
Life and career
Matassa was born in New Orleans in 1926. In 1944 he began studies as a chemistry major at Tulane University, which he abandoned after completing five semesters of course work. In 1945, at the age of 18, Matassa opened the J&M Recording Studio at the back of his family’s shop on Rampart Street, in the French Quarter of New Orleans. In 1955, he moved to the larger Cosimo Recording Studio on Gov. Nichols Street, nearby in the French Quarter.
As an engineer and proprietor, Matassa was crucial to the development of the sound of R&B, rock and soul of the 1950s and 1960s, often working with the producers Dave Bartholomew and Allen Toussaint. He recorded many hits, including Fats Domino’s "The Fat Man" (a contender for the first rock and roll record), Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti", and records by Ray Charles, Lee Dorsey, Dr. John, Smiley Lewis, Bobby Mitchell, Tommy Ridgley, the Spiders and many others. He was responsible for developing what became known as the New Orleans sound, with strong drums, heavy guitar and bass, heavy piano, light horns and a strong vocal lead. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Matassa also managed the successful white New Orleans rock-and-roll performer Jimmy Clanton.
Awards and other recognition
In December 1999, J&M Recording Studio was designated as a historic landmark.
- Unterberger, Richie (1926-04-13). "Cosimo Matassa – Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-06.
- Komorowski, Adam. Liner notes. The Cosimo Matassa Story (CD).
- Martin, Douglas (September 12, 2014). "Cosimo Matassa, Whose Studio Created a Rock 'n' Roll Sound, Dies at 88". New York Times.
- "Cosimo Matassa". www.rockhall.com. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
- Billboard, May 23, 1960. p. 30.
- ""New Orleans sound" Legend Cosimo Matassa Has Died". Bestofneworleans.com. Retrieved 2014-09-13.
- Spera, Keith. "Cosimo Matassa, New Orleans Recording Studio Owner, Engineer and Rock 'n' Roll Pioneer, Has Died". Times-Picayune, September 11, 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- "Cosimo Matassa Dies: Engineer and Recording Academy Trustees Award Recipient Dies at 88". Grammy.com. September 11, 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-12.
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- "Guns n' Roses Inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame". Bbc.co.uk. 2011-12-07. Retrieved 2013-03-06.
- "2013 Blues Hall of Fame Inductees Announced". Blues.org. Retrieved 2013-03-06.