Visitation and funeral arrangements for Cosimo Matassa — the New Orleans studio owner and engineer who recorded national and regional hits by Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew, Irma Thomas, Art and Aaron Neville and many more — have been set.
Matassa, a modest legend who always gave credit to the singers and musicians he recorded, died Thursday at 88.
Visitation will begin at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home, 5100 Pontchartrain Blvd., New Orleans. Relatives and friends are invited to attend the funeral Mass at Lake Lawn at 3 p.m. Burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation. An online guest book for the Matassa family may be signed at www.lake lawnmetairie.com.
In 1945, Matassa and his business partner, Joe Mancuso, opened the J&M Recording Studio behind the J&M Music Shop, an appliance and record store. The tiny studio on North Rampart Street became a primary incubator of New Orleans, Louisiana and American rhythm and blues and rock ’n’ roll as well as what later came to be called funk.
The songs recorded at Matassa’s studio include Domino’s first hit, 1950’s “The Fat Man”; Guitar Slim’s major R&B hit of 1954, “The Things That I Used to Do” (featuring Ray Charles); Smiley Lewis’ 1955 R&B hit, “I Hear You Knockin’ ” (featuring Huey “Piano” Smith); Shirley and Lee’s No. 1 pop hit from 1956, “Let the Good Times Roll”; and Chris Kenner’s 1961 No. 2 pop hit, “I Like It Like That.”
Matassa’s honors include his 2012 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a 2011 honorary doctorate from Loyola University and a 2007 Grammy Trustees Award.