Tedeschi Trucks’ Kofi Burbridge Dies at 57

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Kofi Burbridge of Tedeschi Trucks Band (Photo from his Facebook page)

Kofi Burbridge, the keyboardist and flutist of the Grammy-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band, died February 15, in Atlanta, according to various reports on social media. No cause of death was announced but the musician, 57, had suffered a setback recently that was related to his 2017 surgery when he had a massive heart attack and underwent heart surgery in Atlanta.

Drummer Yonrico Scott, a former member of the Derek Trucks Band, wrote, in part, on his Facebook page: “Today we have lost one of the most beautiful people on the planet. My brother Kofi Burbridge has made his transition; he put up a hard fight. My heart goes out to the Burbridge family. Also to the DTB and TTB family.”

On Feb. 16, the Allman Brothers Band’s Facebook page wrote, in part: “The Allman Brothers Band Family lost another member last night. Kofi, a master of keyboards and flute came into the family through his brother, bassist Oteil. He regularly sat in with the Brothers. His warm smile, subtle personality and expert music skills made him a welcome addition every time he was at a show.

“His flute solos on ‘Elizabeth Reed’ were unique and memorable. His keyboard contributions were masterful. Our broken hearts and grief go out to the Burbridge and Tedeschi Trucks Band families. His memory, talent and contributions to music will be with us all forever.”

In reporting about Burbridge’s setback, the Tedeschi Trucks Band—fronted by guitarist Derek Trucks and singer/guitarist Susan Tedeschi, his wife—wrote on January 3, on their Facebook page, “The doctors feel good about his recent progress and we’re hoping he’ll be out of the hospital soon, but he’ll need some time for recovery. We appreciate everyone’s best wishes for Kofi and we’re all looking forward to his healthy recovery and return to the stage where he belongs.”

Melody Trucks of the musical Trucks family posted this photo of Burbridge on her Facebook page on Feb. 16, 2019: “I love you!!!”

The band issued a statement on June 21, 2017, about Burbridge’s heart attack: “After undergoing emergency heart surgery yesterday in Atlanta, our brother Kofi Burbridge is now resting in the hospital and beginning the earliest stages of his recovery while surrounded by family, bandmates and friends. Our thoughts are with Kofi and we ask for privacy and patience for the moment until we have further updates to share about his condition.”

Burbridge was born on September 22, 1961, in The Bronx, New York, and was classically trained. He is the brother of former Allman Brothers Band bassist Oteil Burbridge, who played with the Tedeschi Trucks Band until 2012 and now plays with Dead and Company. Kofi Burbridge played with the Aquarium Rescue Unit (whose founder Col. Bruce Hampton recently passed away) and then joined the Derek Trucks Band in 1999.

Tedeschi Trucks Band, 2016

Trucks is the nephew of Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks, who died in 2017. In 2010, when the Derek Trucks Band merged with members of Tedeschi’s group to form the Tedeschi Trucks Band, both Burbridge brothers were part of the initial lineup.

Ironically, on the same day as Burbridge’s passing–February 15, 2019–the Tedeschi Trucks Band released Signs, their first new album in three years. Signs includes contributions from Kofi Burbridge.

From the album announcement: “A sense of loss and frustration colors portions of Signs. A number of tragedies hit home during the writing and recording of the album, as the group said goodbye to family members and friends including Derek’s uncle and Allman Brothers alumnus Butch Trucks, founding Brother Gregg Allman, and mentors Leon Russell and Col. Bruce Hampton. Political polarization, intolerance, and threats to an environment they see as increasingly under siege are also dealt with openly and honestly on the album.

“This is the first record we’ve made where, when I listen to it, it puts me in a specific place,” said Derek Trucks. “It puts me in a zone and hits some raw nerves.”

The 12-piece group has a very busy 2019 tour with dates currently scheduled in the U.S. and Europe through August. Tickets are available here.

Related: Allman Brothers Band’s Butch Trucks dies

Watch Kofi Burbridge (on flute) with his brother Oteil on bass

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