Pick Six is a half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view.
Robin James of St. Paul:
1 Brianna Thomas, "Everybody Knows." This album is a multigenre excursion of soulfulness, evoking many moods and emotions. Thomas' flexible delivery is effortless and assured, particularly on her rendition of Nina Simone's "Mississippi Goddam."
2 Jeremy Pelt, "Griot: This Is Important!" With this album, the jazz trumpeter expands on what it means to be a storyteller by capturing stories for posterity. It's his take on the West African Griot tradition where stories and reminiscences are handed down as oral histories, which here includes interviews with his peers followed by his compositions as exclamation points.
3 "Saint Coltrane: The Church Built on a Love Supreme." Public radio's "Jazz Night in America" visits the Coltrane Church (known as Saint John Will-I-Am Coltrane African Orthodox Church) in San Francisco. This 20-minute documentary features commentary from Franzo and Marina King, the church's founders, about everything from how they gained, then lost, support of John Coltrane's widow, Alice Coltrane, to how the spiritual music of John Coltrane inspired the church that has a global following.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune critic:
1 Andra Day, "Tigress & Tweed." This remarkable new original tune from the upcoming movie "United States v Billie Holiday" is suitably haunting in content and tone. Lady Day will lead to Andra's day.
2 Rick Ross, NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert. Performing with a live band for only the second time in his career, the Miami MC throws down on six jams in a low-key local art gallery, embellished with his golden throne. Ross' force of personality combined with two soulful singers provide a much-needed live pandemic hip-hop fix.
3 Peter Gabriel, "Biko" video. The British rock star remakes his 1980 anti-apartheid protest song remotely with Angelique Kidjo, Yo-Yo Ma, Cape Town Ensemble, Meshell Ndegeocello and many others. Still powerful.