Bobbito / Various Earthtones

Renaissance b-boy Bobbito Garcia has been the host of one of the most influential college radio hip-hop shows ever, a journalist, a pioneering indie record label owner and most recently the author of a definitive book on sneaker culture among his varied pursuits, but here the tireless multi-tasker settles into his role behind the decks as his alter ego DJ Cucumber Slice. While the subtitle of this compilation is Music From the Latin Diaspora, it’s only a reference point as his obscure selections clearly reflect the freedom he obviously values himself. While the yearning for freedom is explicitly manifested in the social protest soul of the 3 Pieces’ Gil Scott-Heron influenced "Backed Up Against The Wall,” for the most part his selections reflect the Latin-tinged incursions into different genres. The Nicola Conte reworking of Eli Goulart E Banda Do Mato’s sublime "Meu Samba” makes yet another appearance on a compilation but is a completely justified presence alongside other lesser known yet worthy instrumental workouts. The most bizarre of these is Señor Coconut Y Su Conjunto’s surreal reading of Kraftwerk’s "Trans Europe Express,” which dares you to get through it without cracking a smile. Bobbito also adds traditional Latin selections, acid jazz and Mali’s Abdoulaye Diabate, to these ear-pleasing eclectic selections proving this is one of many gigs he does very well. (R2)