© 2018 The Grass Roots Cultural and Performing Arts Center

MICHELLE 'EVIL GAL' WILLSON

Looking back at 25 years of making music with Michelle 'Evil Gal' Willson was a monumental undertaking for the band leader, singer, composer...what to pick? who to pick? What gets left out? Perhaps if there was one song that exemplified the night for me it's this big band, jazzed up version of David Egan's "Half Past the Blues." The original was written as more of a honky-tonk blues number but the arrangement by Willson was much truer to the original Vernon Garrett recording. She reached back 17 years into her Rounder Records catalog to pull this gem out. The horn section shines with Scotty Shetler, Rob Lyons and Barry Fleischer. There's great guitar fills from Mike Mele playing off the loungy piano riffs from Shinichi Ohtsu while the rhythm section of Zac Casher on drums and Sven larson on bass keep it classy and classic. Willson picks music that suits her vibe, her low smoky vocals and mid-century 'bad girl' overtones...this is classic bluesy jazz from a stage full of masters.

slow, smokey, down and dirty... from The "Evil Gal" Festival Orchestra featuring the Evil Gal herself Michelle Willson. Great piano work by Shinichi Otsu and great, bluesy horns from Scott Shetler, Barry Fleischer and Rob Lyons. Classic jazz guitar from Mike Mele and slow, swampy rhythm from drummer Zac Casher and upright bass from Sven Larson. A throwback to the Hot Club of Paris late 50's jazz/blues scene...the sound hearkens back to an era of sultry, soulful lounge jazz when the likes of Dinah Washington, Julie London, Rosemary Clooney and Ruth Brown ruled the earth. Maybe Michelle "Evil Gal" Willson was just born a couple decades late as she would have been one of the voices you would hear today to define a bygone era. The Evil Gal Orchestra accompanied Willson on that album with many of those hep-cats taking the stage with her for this Retro-Spective look back at her remarkable catalog of music.

The 'Evil Gal' Orchestra

Michelle Willson - vocals

Zac Casher - drums

Scott Shetler - sax, clarinet, mandolin

Barry Fleischer - tenor sax

Rob Lyons - baritone sax

Mike Mele - guitar

Sven Larson - bass

Shnichi Ohtsu - piano, organ

The Session Crew

Produced and edited by:
Bill Hurley

Cameras:
Maribeth Arena

Bill Hurley
H. Nat Stevens
Joanne Craig

Audio:
Eric Nordstrom
Connor Quigley

Mixed by:
Connor Quigley

Lighting/Special Effects:
Rick Smith

Stage Production:
Gerry Earabino

Photos:
Dan Busler Photography