The Washington Post

Reggie ‘Polo’ Burwell of D.C. go-go group TCB dies at the age of 42

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.

Chris Richards is The Washington Post's pop music critic. He has recently written about Adele's sadness, Kendrick Lamar's fury, Young Thug's genius and T-Pain's vulnerability.



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