Friday, September 12, 2014

Another Key Producer Has Died

Cosimo Matassa, the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame recording engineer and New Orleans studio owner who set the stage for classic recordings by the likes of Fats Domino, Little Richard, Ray Charles and Professor Longhair has died, according to reports from WWL-TV. He was 88.

Mr. Matassa helped facilitate the role of New Orleans in the birth of rock 'n' roll. He opened his first studio, J&M Recording, in 1945 in the back of his family's record and appliance store at the corner of North Rampart and Dumaine streets in the French Quarter. Its pedigree is on par with that of Sun Studios in Memphis, Tenn.

Fats Domino would record most of his classic hits in studios owned by Mr. Matassa.  A 16-year-old Jerry Lee Lewis took the bus from his home in Ferriday to make his first demo recording at J&M.
Little Richard cut "Tutti Frutti," one of his most popular records, there with a band of New Orleanians backing him.

Professor Longhair recorded "Tipitina" and "Mardi Gras in New Orleans," two of his signature songs, in the same room. Shirley and Lee, Smiley Lewis, Ray Charles, Bobby Charles, The Spiders, Big Joe Turner and many others also worked at the original J&M location until Mr. Matassa relocated his studio to Gov. Nicholls Street in 1955.

Mr. Matassa was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer in 2012.