About

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 extensively 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.