Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Kofi Burbridge Dead at 57
Kofi Burbridge, a multi-instrumentalist who played keyboards and flute for the Tedeschi Trucks Band, died on Friday. The group confirmed the news via Facebook.
Burbridge, who was 57, underwent emergency heart surgery two years ago. The Tedeschi Trucks Band announced last month that he wouldn’t be joining them on their current tour, after complications arose.
“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,” said percussionist Yonrico Scott, who was a member of the Derek Trucks Band and other projects alongside Burbidge. “My heart goes out to the Burbridge family. Also to the DTB and TTB family. … My love is with you. Brother Kofi has touched so many souls, through his spirit and music.”
Born in New York City, Burbridge and his bassist brother Oteil pursued musical ambitions, learning multiple instruments and genres. They were first bandmates in Knee-Deep then the Aquarium Rescue Unit in 1994, after Oteil credited his younger brother with finding perfect pitch at the age of seven. The younger Burbridge and Scott later shared projects together before all three became founding members of the Tedeschi Trucks Band in 2010; Oteil left two years later.
“Oteil and I actually explored a series of instruments,” Kofi Burbridge said of his early days, in a 2016 talk with NYS Music. “We got lucky because we had a set of parents who saw that we were interested. Like any responsible pair, they made us get our work done first and then we could play. It showed them though that we were really passionate about getting into music, so they invested in lessons and things like that. We had the benefit of my dad’s extensive record collection as well. … We had this treasure waiting for us, not knowing it was treasure waiting for us.”
Kofi appeared on the first four Tedeschi Trucks Band studio albums, and a pair of live projects. “I’ve never had this much creative freedom with any band," Burbridge added. "It’s the most I’ve been able to open up in any band situation, especially in one like this with so many people.”
Watch Kofi Burbridge Jamming in 2012
Things took a turn more recently, when the group said Burbridge left the road “to undergo a follow-up procedure. 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.”
No cause or location of death was confirmed. The Tedeschi Trucks Band’s new album Signs was released on Friday, as well – and Burbridge played a key role.
“Kofi is full force,” Trucks told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last April, while Signs was being recorded. “It reminds me of Lord of the Rings when Gandalf goes down and comes back as the white wizard: He’s got a few extra layers of magic! His musicianship has always been amazing, but listening back to the studio [tracks] the last few days, he crossed over there for a minute!”