Reid McLean of St. Paul:
1 Donny McCaslin Group, the Dakota. Key collaborators on David Bowie’s final disc, McCaslin (tenor sax) and Jason Lindner (keyboards) led an intense, loud prog-jazz crew.
2 Lizz Wright, “Grace.” Her sixth terrific album has a folk-gospel feel, soulful singing and thoughtful production by Joe Henry.
3 “The Brazilian Hour,” noon Sundays on KBEM Radio (88.5 FM). Heavy on Brazil’s signature contributions to the pop music world (1960s-’80s samba and bossa nova), this program also showcases contemporary artists in many styles.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Janelle Monae, “Make Me Feel.” Prince’s purple fingerprints are all over this sly, sexy slice of soul that is her new single.
2 Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, the Guthrie. The husband and wife banjo stars rewarded with spontaneous humor and practiced musicality.
3 Soundset 2018 lineup. Awesome: New stars Migos and Logic, classics Wu-Tang Clan and Ice-T, and Erykah Badu, one of the most mesmerizing performers in any genre. Can’t wait.