Dave was born in Oakland, California, in 1952. There was a half-size violin kept in the closet in case he wanted to be a concert violinist. He played trumpet at the age of nine, moving to baritone horn at the age of eleven, followed by a stint on drums until settling on electric bass at thirteen, adding upright bass to the mix until the switch to saxophone at the age of twenty-one. He has specialized in the baritone saxophone since the early seventies.
Sewelson arrived in New York City in the summer of 1977, settled in the East Village becoming a stalwart of the downtown scene, played in many bands of the area including the 25 O’Clock Band, Jemeel Moondoc’s Jus Grew Orchestra, Saheb Sarbib’s Multinational Big Band ,Noise R Us, Mofungo, Freedomland and Fast ‘n Bulbous. He was a founding member of the Microscopic Septet. Lifetime member of William Parker’s Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra. He has played with many wonderful musicians, including, Billly Bang, John Zorn, Peter Kuhn, Alex Cline, Roy Campbell, Sonny Murray, Kidd Jordan, Daniel Carter, Will Connell and Stephanie Stone. Current projects include, Two Sisters Inc., Sewelsonics, the MFAFWQ, Trio Dave, and Orchestra Dave and the Jesse Dulman Quartet.
As well as being a guest on radio shows on such stations KPOO, WFMU and WKCR he has been heard on the theme music of shows on NPR. Dave hosts a weekly radio show on Saturdays from 2 til 5pm on WFMU’s Give the Drummer Radio Stream. Every week Dave has a guest musician/poet/artist who joins him in the air for conversation, playing records and spontaneous improvisation live on the radio. Past guests have included, Daniel Carter, William Parker, Steve Swell, Michael Moss, Steve Dalachinksy, Lisa Sokolov, and a host of other luminaries.