Bobbito García

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Earthtones Review

by John Bush

Bobbito Garcia is an ace sneaker pimp, age-old b-boy, boogie-basketball expert, presenter (with Stretch Armstrong) of the radio show dubbed best of all time by The Source, and, most importantly for the purposes of this release, a mixer under the self-deprecating alias of DJ Cucumberslice. Though he's most famed for a definitive book on collecting sneakers (Where'd You Get Those? New York City's Sneaker Culture: 1960-1987), Bobbito also understands the intersection of Latin culture and breaks culture better than anyone -- excepting only, perhaps, fellow Nuyoricans Kenny Dope and Little Louie Vega. Earthtones is a set of groove-based music that varies widely, illustrating the fact that a DJ Cucumberslice gig is less about providing a seamless mix than airing some tracks that make Bobbito smile. So, the mix moves quickly from West African beat music (Abdoulaye Diabate) to Latin jazz-funk (the Three Pieces) to golden-age NYC hip-hop (Self Scientific) with barely a pause for breath. Just like the manufacturers of a hot pair of sneakers, Bobbito obviously treasures musicians who are distinctive, talented, artistic, and unmoved by the pressures of shifting units. Though there isn't much transitional flow in effect, Bobbito ends Earthtones with some buoyant groove jazz, beginning with the flute and vocal scatting of La Gente Urbana's "Osanyin," and extending to soul-jazz maestro Charles Earland's cover "Aquarius," and ending with Maysa Leak's treasured performance of "Shadows and the Light."

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