By Tom Sinclair
Updated May 14, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

Decades before Ricky Martin realized his crossover dreams, Cuban jazz/soul percussionist Santamaria had a top 10 hit with the unforgettable 1963 instrumental ”Watermelon Man.” That ace tune is one of the many delights on this overdue two-CD set, which contains enough fodder for a thesis — hell, a book — on the amazing variety of cross-pollinated musical styles (Latin, jazz, funk, R&B, fusion) this man juggled. But leave that stuff to academics and ethnomusicologists. Trust me: Even if you can’t differentiate between salsa and merengue, mambo or samba, you’ll dig Santamaria’s timeless jams in Skin on Skin: The Mongo Santamaria Anthology. They’re the aural equivalent of blazingly spicy salsa picante. A