Reggie “Polo” Burwell, the pioneering local musician responsible for popularizing the “bounce beat” go-go sound, died on Tuesday morning at Saint Thomas More Medical Complex, a nursing and rehabilitation center in Hyattsville. He was 42.
The death, which came more than three years after a brain aneurysm that put Burwell in a coma, was confirmed by Burwell’s father, James Shields.
Burwell was the lead vocalist for TCB, the go-go group that made Washington’s proudly local brand of funk music resonate with a new generation of listeners.
The band minted its “bounce beat” sound at a fire station in Riverdale in 2003, when a dodgy P.A. system forced TCB percussionist Eddie “Luv” McCoy and drummer Neal Thomas to keep the music going by introducing a slower, heavier rhythm they’d been toying with. Burwell instantly liked what he heard and made it the band’s hallmark.
TCB manager Ben Adda says arrangements for a public funeral are still being made and that details will be announced on social media.