Dave Nelson

photo by Antonia Nelson

Dave Nelson is a New York-based trombonist, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and composer. Most recently, his duo project Nelson Patton (trombone, drums and electronics) has collaborated closely with Lonnie Holley and is documented on the critically acclaimed album Mith.

Dave is also a member of Pfarmers, a collaborative trio with Bryan Devendorf (The National) and Danny Seim (Menomena). Together, they have released two albums with Dave’s contribution receiving praise:

The trio’s most engaging element is Nelson’s intricate and often startling trombone, utilized in diverse ways throughout. Whether it’s in the atmospheric gloom on opener “Benthos” or the propulsive, repeating lines of “The Ol’ River Gang”, Nelson emerges as the most exciting contributor to Gunnera.

~ Kristofer Lenz, Consequence of Sound

As a studio musician, Dave has contributed to recordings by a range of popular artists and bands including The National, Sufjan Stevens, Mumford and Sons, Joanna Newsom, Frightened Rabbit, Jonsi, Local Natives, Steve Coleman, John Adams, Martha Wainwright, and many more. Most recently, much of his arranging and recording is being done at his personal studio in upstate New York, which he built in 2014.

Touring credits include David Byrne/St. Vincent, The National, and Lonnie Holley. Dave has also performed live with Vampire Weekend, Spoon, Father John Misty, Beirut, Bonobo, and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros among others. He has performed at many of the world’s best venues as well as on most major late-night TV shows including SNL, Colbert, Letterman, Fallon, and Kimmel.

In addition to his work in popular music, Dave performs with many of today’s premier classical and new music ensembles. He is principal trombonist of The Knights Orchestra, and has performed with International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), NYC Opera, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Talea, and Signal. In 2010, Dave played first trombone on the Broadway revival of West Side Story. He can also be heard on numerous film and television scores including the 2012 Sundance Winner Beasts of the Southern Wild.

As a composer, Dave has scored music for HBO documentary My Depression by Elizabeth Swados as well as segments for SNL and The Colbert Report.

Selected Discography

San Fermin – The Cormorant I – trombone
The Holdsteady – Thrashing Thru The Passion – trombone, trumpet
Dave Nelson – The Free Field – all songwriting, performances, and mixing
Adia Victoria – Silences – trombone, trumpet, engineering
The Holdsteady – The Last Time That She Talked To Me – trombone, trumpet
Craig Finn – I Need A New War – trombone, trumpet

Lonnie Holley – Mith – trombone, trombone loops, op1 synth, engineering
Luluc – Sculptor – trombone, trumpet, engineering
Clare Bowen – Clare Bowen – trombone, trumpet, engineering
The Peach Pit – The Pit Hits – writing, producing, performing, mixing, mastering

Charlotte Gainsbourg – Rest – trombone
San Fermin – Belong – trombone
Yo Yo Ma & The Knights – Azul – trombone

Nelson Patton ft. Lonnie Holley – Along The Way – trombone, trombone loops, engineering, producing, mixing
Lisa Hannigan – At Swim – trombone, arranging, engineering (trombone)
Pfarmers – Our Puram – trombone, guitar, keys, bass, vocals, percussion, arranging, engineering
Various Artists – Day Of The Dead – trombone, trumpet, arranging, engineering
Frightened Rabbit – Painting Of A Panic Attack – trombone, engineering

Joanna Newsom – Divers – trombone
Pfarmers – Gunnera – trombone, trumpet, guitar, bass, keys, vocals, percussion, arranging, engineering
Mumford and Sons – Wilder Mind – trombone
Steve Coleman – Synovial Joints – bass trombone
Little May – For The Company – trombone
Gigi Cast Recording – Gigi – trombone, bass trombone

Luluc – Passerby – trombone
Escort – Cabaret – trombone

International Contemporary Ensemble – Xenakis: Ensemble Works 3
David Byrne/St. Vincent – BrassTactics EP
The National – Trouble Will Find Me
The Knights Orchestra – Triple Concerto/ Symphony No. 5
Local Natives – Hummingbird

Beasts of the Southern Wild – Beasts of the Southern Wild Soundrack
The Knights Orchestra – A Second of Silence
Daniel Clay – Ten Thousand Things

John Adams – Son of Chamber Symphony
Emmanuel and the Fear – Hands EP
Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz
Sufjan Stevens – All Delighted People
Jonsi – Go
The National – High Violet
The Knights Orchestra – New Worlds

Yusef Lateef – Towards The Unknown
Emmanuel and The Fear – Listen

Martha Wainwright – Sans Fusils, Ni Souliers, A Paris

Kenosha Kid – Steamboat Bill Jr.

Paragon Ragtime Orchestra – Mark of Zorro

Kenosha Kid – Projector
Parker And Lily, The Low Lows

  • Recent Music

    The Free Field

    Dave Nelson

    Along The Way

    Nelson Patton ft. Lonnie Holley