Mano Negra-Best of Mano Negra
(Ark 21) Franco-Spanish politicos finally get their due with this career-spanning collection of post-European salsa rallies, cowpunk throwdowns, rai bombs, and soccer tributes.


Steve Coleman and Five Elements-The Sonic Language of Myth
(RCA Victor) The M-Base saxophonist is joined by Greg Osby in translating mathematical Kemetic cosmology into geometric beauty.


Earth, Wind & Fire- Gratitude, All 'n All, That's The Way of The World
(Sony) Three classic albums from EWF's golden years finally remastered and repackaged-overdue respect and love for a magnificent band with all the Elements.


Fred Ho and Ann T. Greene-Warrior Sisters: A New American Opera
(Koch Jazz) An ambitious three-act jazz-opera bringing together Fa Mu Lan, Nana YaaAsantewa, Sieh King King, and Assata Shakur in a revolutionary narrative.


Isotope 217-Utonian_Automatic
(thrill jockey) Members of Chicago Underground Orchestra, Tortoise, and Tranquility Bass sculpt futurist fusion textures informed by-but never merely reduced to dub, hip-hop, or techno.


Les Nubians-Princesses Nubians
(Virgin France/Higher Octave) The soulful French sister duo call upon their African roots with a unique fusion of jazz, soul, and hip-hop in their evocative debut album.


Shing02-Japonica EP
(TerraCotta Troops/www.e22.com) Suppressed in Japan by ultra-rightist nationalists for its anti-war message-living proof that American indie hip-hop still has the ability to shock and transform.


Sizzla-Royal Son of Ethiopia
(Greensleeves/Xterminator) His sixth album in three years burns down faux-dreadlockism with a militant Garveyite Bobo Rasta edge.


Cassandra Wilson-Traveling Miles
(Blue Note) This sultry tribute to Miles Davis confirms Wilson as a funk-laden jazz magician who can remake any song in her own image.