David's research explores musical improvisation using theories from cultural and cognitive studies, cybernetics, and the emerging sciences of chaos and complexity. His book, Sync or Swarm: Improvising Music in a Complex Age (Continuum, 2005), won the 2006 Alan P. Merriam Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology as the most distinguished English-language book in the field, and it will be published in a revised edition in 2022 by Bloomsbury Academic Press.

David has also published research in prestigious journals, including: Jazz Perspectives, Jazz Research Journal, Black Music Research Journal, Journal of Popular Music Studies, American Music, Journal of American History, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Parallax and Open Space; and in the edited volumes: Sound Musicianship (Cambridge Scholars, 2012), Taking it to the Bridge (University of Michigan Press, 2013), Soundweaving (Cambridge Scholars, 2014), Negotiated Moments (Duke University Press, 2016), The Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies (2016), The Springer Handbook of Systematic Musicology (2018), Music and Consciousness 2 (Oxford University Press, 2019) and The Routledge Companion to Jazz Studies (2019).

David has given invited talks and/or performances at STEIM (the Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music in Amsterdam), SARC (the Sonic Arts Research Center at Queens University Belfast), The University of Göteborg, The University of Sao Paulo, Escuela National de Musica-UNAM in Mexico City, Jazz in the Native Yards in Cape Town, The University of Chicago, The University of Minnesota, The New York City Electroacoustic Improvisation Summit, The Herb Alpert School of Music (UCLA), NWEAMO (the Northwest Electro-Acoustic Music Organization), UCHRI's "State of the Arts" Festival, and The Bronowski Art and Science Forum, among others.

See publications at Researchgate