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.
- Painting Of A Panic Attack, Frightened Rabbit (2016)
- Divers, Joanna Newsom (2015)
- Wilder Mind, Mumford and Sons (2015)
- Synovial Joints, Steve Coleman (2015)
- For The Company, Little May (2015)
- Passerby, Luluc (2014)
- Cabaret, Escort (2014)
- Xenakis: Ensemble Works 3, International Contemporary Ensemble (2013)
- BrassTactics EP, David Byrne/St. Vincent (2013)
- Trouble Will Find Me, The National (2013)
- Triple Concerto/ Symphony No. 5, The Knights Orchestra (2013)
- Hummingbird, Local Natives (2013)
- Beasts of the Southern Wild Soundrack, Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
- A Second of Silence, The Knights Orchestra (2012)
- Ten Thousand Things, Daniel Clay (2012)
- Son of Chamber Symphony, John Adams (2011)
- Hands EP, Emmanuel and the Fear (2011)
- The Age of Adz, Sufjan Stevens (2010)
- All Delighted People, Sufjan Stevens (2010)
- Go, Jonsi (2010)
- High Violet, The National (2010)
- New Worlds, The Knights Orchestra (2010)
- Towards The Unknown, Yusef Lateef (2010)
- Listen, Emmanuel and The Fear (2010)
- Sans Fusils, Ni Souliers, A Paris, Martha Wainwright (2009)
- Steamboat Bill Jr., Kenosha Kid (2008)
- Mark of Zorro, Paragon Ragtime Orchestra (2007)
- Projector, Kenosha Kid (2005)
- The Low Lows, Parker And Lily (2005)