Dave Nelson
photo by Antonia Nelson

Dave Nelson is a New York-based trombonist, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and producer. He works extensively as a session player, often arranging and recording remotely from his personal studio in Upstate, NY.

Dave’s experimental duo project Nelson Patton (trombone, drums and electronics) has collaborated closely with Lonnie Holley and is documented on the critically acclaimed album Mith as well as the short film, I Snuck Off The Slave Ship, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

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.

As a studio musician, Dave has contributed to recordings by a range of popular artists and bands including The National, Sufjan Stevens, Taylor Swift, 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 extensively with International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), NYC Opera, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, NOVUS NY, and Talea. Dave has held chairs on Broadway shows West Side Story (2010 revival) and Gigi (2015 revival) and many others as a sub. He can also be heard on numerous film and television scores including The Mysterious Benedict Society (Disney +), Succession (HBO), Barry (HBO), and the 2012 Sundance Winner Beasts of the Southern Wild.

As a composer, Dave has scored music for HBO documentary My Depression by Elizabeth Swados, various short films as well as segments for SNL and The Colbert Report. Several of Dave’s productions have been placed on TV shows as well.