Michael Burton’s “Say What?” follows a long line of artists such as Grover Washington Jr., Najee, and more recently Soul Live, Robert Glasper, and Esperanza Spalding, who creatively redefined the false borders of Jazz, R&B and progressive urban contemporary radio music.
Noted for his “…ability to move through musical genres flawlessly, with dynamic ambience…” this record produced by Burton is the product of enormous talent, artistry and market savvy. Michael completed both bachelors and masters degrees in Jazz Studies under the renowned musician and professor, David Baker at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.
Trained in music from an early age, his mother is an original member of the legendary Mississippi Mass Choir, and his father a tenor saxophonist himself. Burton’s distinctive soulful saxophone performances, riveting grooves and vocal productions are the result of this influence and the Jackson, Mississippi culture.
Currently touring Patti LaBelle, Michael has also toured with Jill Scott, Mary J. Blige and Anita Baker as well as with New Edition, and PJ Morton. He’s also performed with Aretha Franklin, Fantasia, Young Jeezy, Tank, Russell Gunn and Eric Roberson. He has appeared on The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, Inside the NBA on TNT, The Steve Harvey Show, Ellen and Jimmy Kimmel. The Atlanta metro area resident has also played keys and saxophone for numerous Tyler Perry Stage and film productions. He can also be seen playing his saxophone in the HBO movie Bessie, NatGeo’s Genius Aretha, Bravo Reality TV Shows The New Atlanta and I Dream of NeNe The Wedding, as well as episodes on the IFC series Brockmire and STAR on FOX.
Burton has recorded with a long list of jazz, soul, pop, rhythm and blues, gospel, and hip/hop artists including Jennifer Lopez, Lecrae (Gold Record for Anomaly), Fat Joe, Pitbull, Bria Lee, Will Downing, Deborah Cox, Polow Da Don, Ann Nesby, Jennifer Holliday, Avery Sunshine, Jeff Bradshaw, Candi Staton, Arrested Development, The Brown Boyz, Sho Baraka, Alyson Williams, John Driskell Hopkins (Zac Brown Band), Christian Paul, Marcus Johnson, Titus Showers, The Mississippi Mass Choir, LaShun Pace, Latrice Pace, Australian Pop Star Guy Sebastian, UK sensations Paloma Faith and Kaiser Chiefs, and many others. His soulful saxophone can also be heard on 2 Grammy Nominated projects, ”Love Has Finally Come At Last,” by Calvin Richardson as well as PJ Morton’s Gumbo album. Mike was also a featured soloist on Hidden Beach Recordings “Unwrapped Volume 5.”
Other television credits include house band for season 2 of Fox’s The Masked Singer (2019), the house band for the 2013 – 2019 Trumpet Awards (which aired on TVone and Bounce TV), as well as seasons 6 through 10 of BET’s hit show Sunday Best. He was also in the house band for the 2017 BET Her Fights, 2017 – 2019 Soul Train Awards (BET), 2019 Stellar Awards, 2019 Black Music Honors, 2018 & 2020 BET Awards, 2018 VH1 Dear Mama, 2011 Dove Awards, the 2015 UNCF honors (BET), and the 2015 McDonalds 365 Black Awards (BET). Michael frequently appeared on BET’s The Mo’nique show as a member of the house band (Big Jim’s Penthouse Playas).
Michael has also served as an Artist in Residence in the US Virgin Islands, providing music education and mentorship to middle school, high school, and college students throughout St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John. Mike serves on the Grammy Board of Governors for the Atlanta Recording Academy chapter. He’s also a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Burton has written and/or produced songs for Alex Bugnon, Terrell Carter, Paula Champion, Christian Keyes, Chandra Currelley, Bria Lee and others. Mike has released 4 independent projects, “Sojourn,” “Soulful,” “The Producer,” and “Say What?” Most recently, Mike has released a cover of a Billy Joel Classic, “And So It Goes,” featuring PJ Morton. In 2012, Mike, along a few of his musician friends, assembled the Good Times Brass Band, a horn driven band with a funky blend of New Orleans style second line and DC GoGo. They have one EP to their credit. Mike plays Java Saxophones, Jody Jazz Mouthpieces, and he uses Reunion Blues Gig Bags, Empire In Ear Monitors, and Dante Saxophone Neckstraps. He is a proud family man. He and his wife of 14 years, Razia, have two daughters, Layla Kai and Caden Rae.