Multi-Instrumentalist Kofi Burbridge 1961 – 2019
Tedeschi Trucks Band multi-instrumentalist Kofi Burbridge died on Friday at age 57. The news was shared by Kofi’s friend and former band mate Yonrico Scott and confirmed by multiple sources. The Allman Brothers Band Facebook feed noted that Kofi died in Atlanta following complications surrounding treatment for an ongoing cardiac issue. Burbridge was recently hospitalized after what was described by the Tedeschi Trucks Band as a “setback related to his surgery in 2017.” Kofi underwent emergency heart surgery on June 20, 2017 and spent months recovering.
Kofi was a master at both the flute and keyboards and had strong vocal skills. Both he and his younger brother, Oteil, displayed musical talent early on and were encouraged by their parents to perform and learn as much about music as they could. The pair learned how to play various instruments and took courses in classical and jazz. The elder Burbridge moved from NYC to Washington D.C. and wound up in Atlanta in the late ’80s, where he performed with Knee-Deep and ran in the same circles as Col. Bruce Hampton. Kofi joined Oteil in the Aquarium Rescue Unit in 1994 after Col. Bruce left the band and also was a member of various projects through the end of the decade such as Frogwings including some with Scott. His relationship with Yonrico was in part responsible for Derek Trucks adding Burbridge to the lineup of the Derek Trucks Band in 1999. That same year, Derek became a member of the Allman Brothers Band. Oteil had joined the ABB in 1997 and Kofi made numerous guest appearances with the group.
The Derek Trucks Band went on hiatus in 2010 after winning the Grammy Award For Best Contemporary Blues Album for Already Free, an album to which Kofi added keyboards, flute and vocals. In 2010 Derek formed the Tedeschi Trucks Band with his wife Susan. Kofi was a founding member of the group, which reunited him with Oteil. While Oteil left the band in 2012, Kofi remained on through his emergency surgery and recent hospitalization. Kofi is featured on the new TTB album Signs which came out today. The album is in part about loss and the numerous members of the band’s expanded family who have passed away in recent years.
Kofi rejoined the Tedeschi Trucks Band in the Fall of 2017 following his surgery and played with the group through their final shows of 2018. The TTB announced Burbridge would take time off the road after his health setbacks at the start of the year. Keyboardist Gabe Dixon has filled-in for Kofi since January 17 and announced he’ll be performing with the 12-piece act through at the least the end of 2019.
JamBase sends its thoughts to Kofi’s friends, family and fans.