Who is David L. McBurnett?


What do Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Paul Shaffer, Linda Ronstadt, Aaron Neville, The Neville Brothers, The Meters, Dr. John, Sarah Vaughan, Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Al Hirt, Jerry Garcia, Carlos Santana, Ronnie Woods, Rubin Blades, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, and Deva Premal have in common? David L McBurnett produced all of them.

In a musical journey touching five decades David is responsible for capturing forever many of our most treasured musical talents while they were in their prime.

Sarah singing with Dizzy; Fats Domino, Ray Charles and Jerry Lee Lewis jamming together in a New Orleans nightclub; Carlos Santana and Celia Cruz joyously giving American the Beautiful a Salsa beat; Linda Ronstadt melting voices with Aaron Neville over Christmas and Deva Premal levitating the audience with mantras.  This is a true musical renaissance man and his story.

Mr. McBurnett has had a highly successful career. He entered the music industry as a performer in New Haven (CT) and Boston during the 60s. In 1971, he found himself in New Orleans and fell in love with the roots of American music. While performing with a traveling musical troupe, Papa Duke and the Mud People, his focus changed to production. David co-produced two major events 30 miles north of New Orleans, along the banks of the Mississippi. The first was “Calvary” on Easter weekend — a fusion of black gospel, folk, blues and rock & roll. The second event was “The People’s Party,” a celebration of life, music, and food. He performed both with the group and as a solo act in both events.

David contributed to the first decade of growth for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, supplying logistics and production expertise. In that era, the festival grew from 5,000 visitors each day to 60,000 visitors. It is now the largest in the world, drawing over 100,000 fans daily. David performed at the festival in 1975 with Eluard Burt.  In 1980, he reunited The Meters, the legendary rhythm section from New Orleans, for a full-length video production. An offshoot of this band was their opening act, The Neville Brothers. This video landed the Neville’s first national recording contract.

Returning to NYC in 1981, David worked in TV and film distribution. In 1986, he produced his first national TV special, “Fats Domino and Friends,” starring Fats Domino, Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Paul Schaefer, and Rolling Stones’ guitarist, Ronnie Wood. ”Fats and Friends” achieved the highest viewer satisfaction rating in HBO/Cinemax in that era. With the success of this revolutionary format, McBurnett produced two more shows for this highly regarded series: “Sass and Brass” featuring Sarah Vaughn and jazz greats Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and Al Hirt, among others. He produced the series finale: “Caliente Y Picante”, a Latin session starring Linda Ronstadt, Carlos Santana, Jerry Garcia, Ruben Blades, Celia Cruz and Tito Puente in 1989.

Continuing his career in marketing, production and strategic analysis, David returned to New Orleans in 1991. There he produced Aaron Neville’s “Christmas in New Orleans,” featuring Linda Ronstadt, Take Six, The Neville Brothers, Irma Thomas, and members of the New Orleans Philharmonic (1994).

Moving to South Florida in 1995, he created the plan to totally revamp the programming and distance learning capabilities of ITV, an instructional television system for Broward County that serviced the 5th largest school system in the US. At the end of the millennium, David took another turn. Using his marketing and strategic skills, he developed new creative aspects of Information Technology. Next, McBurnett became an Automation Supervisor for the decennial US Census supervising the computer activity for five offices in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Since then he has supplied his strategic skills and technical support to a variety of business clients.

After 25 years in South Florida, largely in Coconut Grove, David returned to the city of his heart. New Orleans. Back in the Big Easy, David is focused on aiding the music industry utilizing his 50 + years of experience and success. Many lifelong friendships and collaborations continue to blossom. This includes both old and new relationships and up and coming talent. 

David continues to support recovery in all areas while largely focused on childhood trauma and its adverse consequences. This includes a work in progress centered on a comprehensive view of all the tools needed for recovery from all addictions and adverse practices. He continues to be active on a local and national level while grounding in New Orleans.

David continues to write, tracing a lifetime of love, adventures, and musical history.