Cosimo Matassa / April 13, 1926 - Sept 11, 2014

Cosimo Matassa's J&M Recording studio in New Orleans was the home of some of the biggest hits of the early rock & roll era and he helped shape the NOLA sound. A Sicilian-American who was born and raised in NOLA, he was a funky grocer, record & appliance shop owner and a jukebox servicer before he opened the studio in '45, a time when there were few studios in that musical city. Teenaged Allen Toussaint used to hang out there and practice piano, later on often working directly with Matassa.

In the '60s he started his label Dover Records to produce and promote NOLA talent. In addition to his work as sound engineer, he sometimes functioned as a composer, arranger and producer. He also owned a pressing plant, set up distribution, and served as manager for Jimmy Clanton.

But it was his low-maintenance approach to bringing out the city's natural talent on tape that resulted in well over a hundred classic recordings. Here is just a sample of his clients and the hits he engineered: nearly all of Fats Domino's tunes, Little Richard ("Tutti Frutti" and "Good Golly Miss Molly"), Lloyd Price ("Lawdy Miss Clawdy"), Ernie K-Doe ("Mother In-Law"), Roy Brown ("Good Rockin' Tonight"), Big Joe Turner ("Shake, Rattle & Roll"), Smiley Lewis ("I Hear You Knockin"), Guitar Slim ("The Things I Used To Do"), Professor Longhair ("Mardi Gras In New Orleans" and "Tipitina"), Chris Kenner ("Land of 1000 Dances" and "I Like It Like That"), Clarence Frogman Henry ("Ain't Got No Home"), Irma Thomas, Jerry Lee Lewis, Aaron Neville ("Tell It Like It Is"), Dr John, Sam Cooke, Lee Dorsey ("Workin' In The Coalmine" and "Ya Ya"), Robert Parker ("Barefootin"), Bobby Marchan, Eddie Bo, Dave Bartholomew, Joe Tex, Earl King, Johnny Adams, T-Bone Walker, Lowell Fulson, Etta James, Ellis Marsalis, Elmore James, Nat Adderley, Bosephus (aka Hank Williams Jr), Albert King, Roger & the Gypsies, Ray Charles and hundreds more!

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