The Alex Anest Organ Trio (originally Anest, Kendrick, & McKinney) is dedicated to finding exciting repertoire for the classic combination of guitar, organ, and drums. Original tunes as well as works by the likes of Duke Pearson, Emily Remler, Ernie Krivda, and Herbie Hancock have found their way into the setlist. The current lineup includes Jim Alfredson (Organissimo, Larry McCray) on organ and Gayelynn McKinney (Aretha Franklin, Straight Ahead) on Drums. The focus is on working together and connecting with the audience through improvisation, groove, and feel. Music should be fun to listen to as well as to play, and this trio is all about enjoying the music. This is a relatively new group made up of seasoned players. The Alex Anest Organ Trio has lately been performing around the SE MI area including dates at the Blue Llama, Cliff Bell's, Old Town Tavern, Vinotecca, 2 West, and North Star.
Live at the BLUE LLAMA Vol. 2 will be released on vinyl only in mid-2023.
Alex Anest's Electric Four is an extension of the organ trio but takes the same repertoire into more experimental territory. Open grooves, spacy soundscapes, and a broader pallette of tones from the guitar and keys make this group something closer to a gritty fusion of jazz and rock. With the addition of John Sperendi's soulful and inventive bass, Jim Alfredson moves from the organ to a keyboard/synth role. The goal is to not play the same old tunes in the same old way, but to really explore the possibilities that each piece presents.
Nomad was formed by Alex Anest as a way to put together some of his favorite musicians. The sextet included Gayelynn McKinney on drums, Alexis Lombre on piano, Peyton Miller on vibes, Janelle Reichman on tenor sax, and Eric Nachtrab on bass. Initially, the group focused on the music of Grant Green, playing the albums Idle Moments and Solid in their entirety. Later performances featured the music of the band members, including pieces by Gayelynn, Janelle, and Alex.
The Alex Anest Trio performed in clubs around Ann Arbor including The Ugly Dog, Old Town Tavern, Zingerman's Roadhouse, Aut Bar, and the Chelsea Alehouse. With Jesse Kramer on drums and Dave Sharp on bass, the focus was on works by artists like Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, and Joe Henderson, as well as Alex and Dave's tunes.
The Ann Arbor Guitar Trio was founded on the principle that more guitar is better. Alex Anest formed the group with Evan Veasey and Adam Kahana in 2016. Over the course of two years an emphasis emerged on original material and pieces by artists with a direct connection to the band members and/or SE Michigan. Some of the composers whose works have been performed by the trio include Josh Harlow, Abby Clemens, Malcolm Dean, Ernie Krivda, Miles Okazaki, Ellen Rowe, and Janelle Reichman. These may not be household names but they are all talented writers whose work deserves attention. The trio has also played the music of Bill Frisell, Tiny Grimes, Brian Wilson, George Gershwin, Scott Joplin, Marc Johnson, Pat Metheny, Oliver Nelson, Charlie Parker, and Lou Reed, Improvisation, creative use of space, and the interesting harmonies achievable with so many strings are some of the ideas that the A2G3 explores in their live performances and on their album, “Tides,” released in May of 2018.
Since 2020, Alex Anest has had the pleasure of playing guitar for McKinney Zone, Gayelynn McKinney's funk and jazz based sextet. The music is energetic and fresh, and the band features Ibrahim Jones on bass, Demetrius Nabors on keyboards, Trenita Womack on percussion, and Rafael Statin on woodwinds. Visit Gayelynn McKinney's website.
Alex Anest has been touring, playing, and singing with Kevin Meisel since 2004. In that time he has played on three of Kevin's records and produced one, “Cruising for Paradise,” which was released in 2008. Kevin's music ranks among the best to come out of Michigan's singer-songwriter scene in the past thirty years.