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Playing Live Music 'Is Like Therapy,' Says Pianist Dave Grelle

Jeremy D. Goodwin
St. Louis Public Radio
Soul-jazz pianist Dave Grelle takes the stage this weekend at the inaugural Music at the Intersection festival with his band Playadors and Funky Butt Brass Band.

This weekend, soul-jazz pianist Dave Grelle will take the stage at Music at the Intersection. He told St. Louis on the Air that he’s thrilled to play alongside many of his favorite local musicians.

With his band Dave Grelle’s Playadors, Grelle made his return to in-person gigs in May. They played City Foundry on what proved to be an unseasonably cool day, he recalled. But it still felt like bliss after going without live performances for 14 months during the pandemic.

“The vibes were amazing onstage after not playing live music that long. It's like therapy,” he said.

Since then, Grelle said, he’s said “yes” to almost too many shows — trying to squeeze in as many performances as he can (and as many outside as he can) before winter.

Grelle joined host Sarah Fenske on Thursday to preview the weekend’s events and to reflect on the 2016 hit-and-run that left him with 22 broken bones.

“I broke dozens of bones, lacerated my liver, punctured [my] lung, spleen, all kinds of stuff,” he recalled. “So it was imperative that I got to a hospital really quickly.”

It was after a miraculous set of circumstances that helped to save his life, and two years of recovery, that he launched Playadors. The soul-jazz band will perform on Friday at the Grandel with a few special guests during the performance: singers Anita Jackson, Joanna Sorenko and Emily Wallace.

Dave Grelle joins St. Louis on the Air

“I'm thrilled,” Grelle said. “They were working on three-part harmonies last night, and … wow.”

On Sunday, he’ll perform with the Funky Butt Brass Band under the Big Top.

“Yeah, I'm double-dipping — I gotta,” Grelle said.

Related Events
What: Dave Grelle’s Playadors performance at Music at the Intersection
When: 11 p.m. Friday
Where: The Grandel (3610 Grandel Square)

What: Dave Grelle performs with Funky Butt Brass Band at Music at the Intersection
When: 2:15 p.m. Sunday
Where: The Big Top (3401 Washington Ave.)

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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