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Cosimo Matassa (born April 13, 1926, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States) is a Sicilian-American recording engineer and studio owner, responsible for many R&B and early rock and roll recordings.
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 1945. In 1955, he moved to the larger Cosimo Recording Studio. As an engineer and proprietor, he was crucial to the development of the R&B, rock and soul sound of the 1950s and 1960s (often working with producers Dave Bartholomew and Allen Toussaint), and 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 horn sound 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.
He retired from the music business in the 1980s to manage the family's food store Matassa's Market in the French Quarter.
In December 1999, J&M Recording Studio was designated as a historic landmark. In October 2007, Matassa was honored for his contributions to Louisiana music with induction into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. On September 24, 2010, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum designated Cosimo Matassa’s J&M Recording Studio as a historic Rock and Roll Landmark, one of 11 nationwide.
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