Pick Six is a half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view.
Menia Buckner of Minneapolis:
1 Jovonta Patton, "Patton University." I'm looking forward to the premiere of this movie on Sunday at AMC Southdale 16. The Billboard gospel chart-topper conceived this studio album and its fictional HBCU during the pandemic. After the world witnessed the death of George Floyd, Patton wants to change the negative narrative around Black men in the Twin Cities.
2 "Love Is ..." I enjoyed this virtual Valentine's Day show, the first production of a new company, NolaSkii Group, started by creative Cearah Hamilton. Featured were the incomparable Lyndora Turner and R&B sensation Bree Turner (no relation). My favorites were jazzy takes on Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" and Motown's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine."
3 BlackStream Live. Shawn Gee, president of Live Nation Urban, launched a new livestreaming service featuring concerts, podcasts, jam sessions, conversations and other content from Black creators.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune critic:
1 "The Last Soul Company: The Malaco Records Story" by Rob Bowman. This photo-filled coffee-table book is a loving homage to the plucky and persistent indie label in Jackson, Miss. Started in 1967, Malaco became the largest Black gospel and soul blues imprint, with Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Bobby Blue Bland, Johnnie Taylor, Dorothy Moore and others. And Malaco is still going.
2 FKA Twigs with Headie One and Fred Again, "Don't Judge Me." Part electronica, part hip-hop and part chill, this new single features urgent rhymes, pleading vocals and a potent message for our times.
3 Aretha Franklin Channel, Sirius XM. During part of Black History Month, the Soul Town channel was devoted to the Queen of Soul, spinning her hits, lesser known gems (the bluesy "Trouble in Mind," the James Brown duet "Gimme Your Love") and some forgettables ("My Way," "What a Fool Believes"). She still reigns.