Joe Abraham of Stillwater:
1 The Jayhawks, First Avenue. It’s always a fun time listening to the beautiful harmonies of the Jayhawks live. It also was nice hearing for the first time most of their songs from their recent album “Paging Mr. Proust.” Guitarist Chet Lyster was a nice addition to the band.
2 “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen. The poetry evident in Springsteen’s music translates perfectly into his prose. This book really drew me in. It’s personal, revealing and intriguing. And it’s very well written.
3 Van Morrison, “Keep Me Singing.” As long as Morrison keeps writing such beautiful songs as these, I hope he keeps singing! He seems to get better with age.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Mariah Carey’s New Year’s Eve kerfuffle. It doesn’t matter whether it was the fault of ABC’s staff or Carey’s own crew. This fumble raised the question: Does any star sing live on TV? Most viewers don’t care; they just want to be entertained. Watch Carey on “The Late Late Show” host James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke,” and you’ll see that she can sing.
2 Terence Blanchard, the Dakota. With his new band the E-Collective, the outstanding jazz trumpeter was brilliant on ballads and convincing on fast fusion numbers.
3 “The Rolling Stones — Olé, Olé, Olé! A Trip Across Latin America.” Despite some great concert footage of this 2016 trek, this isn’t really a concert film but a combination of a travelogue and a documentary. See how the Stones spent their time offstage on the road and how they prepared for their first concert in Havana. (Airing Jan. 15 on the Starz cable channel.)