About

dave nelson

photo by Bryan Murray

Dave Nelson is a trombonist/multi-instrumentalist, arranger and composer based in New York. Born and raised in South Georgia, Dave’s musical style reflects his early immersion in blues, jazz and southern rock, acting as a strong undercurrent beneath the refinement of his subsequent classical training.

Dave’s recent solo projects use analog pedals to create hypnotic, minimalistic improvisations that start simply and unfold into fully realized compositions. His rich tone and inventive arranging are on display throughout his three albums of such material. Dave is also a member of Pfarmers, a collaborative trio with Bryan Devendorf (The National) and Danny Seim (Menomena). Their debut album Gunnera was released in May 2015 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 and session 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 and The National. Dave has also performed live with Vampire Weekend, Spoon, The Lone Bellow, 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 in New York City including The Knights Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Talea, and Deviant Septet. 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.

Selected Discography

  • Recent Music

    Thirty Thousand Feet

    improvisations for trombone & pedals

    Gunnera

    Pfarmers
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