Get ready for the Ponderosa Stomp’s righteous tribute to one of the architects of the New Orleans sound, J&M recording studio owner Cosimo Matassa. Friday night’s tribute features tips of the hat from Matassa’s key colleagues, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members Dave Bartholomew and Allen Toussaint, along with Clarence “Frogman” Henry” and Robert Parker. The music then keeps rolling on the main stage with numerous other veterans of Cosimo’s studio, including Jean Knight, Little Leo Price, CP Love, Al “Carnival Time” Johnson, Earl Stanley, GG Shinn, Frankie Ford, and more.
According to John Broven’s treasure-trove book “Rhythm and Blues in New Orleans”:
The whole New Orleans R&B record scene was centred around the recording studios of Cosimo Matassa. Apart from isolated sessions in radio stations or on “field” locations, almost every R&B record made in New Orleans from the 1940s until the late 1960s was cut in his studios. Cosimo is mystified when asked why others did not try to establish another studio. “Beats the hell out of me, I don’t know,” he said. “It could be that New Orleans is just like a big small town.”
On Dec. 10, 1999, on the 50th anniversary of the recording of Fats Domino’s “The Fat Man,” Matassa, Bartholomew, and Domino reunited for a ceremony at 838 N. Rampart St. to designate the site a historic landmark. The event also drew Toussaint, Ford, Ernie K-Doe, and other musicians who recorded there.
Below, watch Bartholomew (who was taught by Louis Armstrong’s trumpet teacher, Peter Davis) blow some notes along with Porgy Jones before giving a shout-out to Matassa and the many legends who made their musical bones at the hit incubator, during a ceremony in September 2010 sponsored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which designated the site a historic Rock and Roll Landmark: