Cosimo Matassa, the legendary recording engineer and studio owner who helped introduce and shape New Orleans’ early rhythm and blues and rock ’n’ roll sound and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and recognized with a Grammy for his efforts, died Thursday. He was 88.

Matassa was sidelined by a stroke in recent years, and his health had declined over the past few months, according to his family.

Matassa’s face, or even his name, may not have been known to some, but the sound he helped create defined a generation. From the 1940s through the 1970s, his recording studios, including the well-known J&M Studios on North Rampart Street, recorded Fats Domino, Little Richard, Professor Longhair, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, Lee Dorsey, Ernie K-Doe, Lloyd Price, Smiley Lewis, Dr. John, Sam Cooke and many others.

As an engineer, Matassa worked closely with producers and arrangers Dave Bartholomew, Allen Toussaint and others to shape what became known as “the New Orleans Sound” of the 1950s and ’60s.

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