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Cold Plunge Records 

Ritmo Patria (Rhythm of the Homeland)

December 2021

 

The Music of Gregg Hill and Mike Eyia

Ritmo Patria is the 5th album release from Cold Plunge Records. It melds the sweet sounds of Salsa and Latin jazz with compositions from two striking composers. Cuban-born Michael Eyia brings the flavor of his homeland to the album with a gorgeous traditional number, Ôdiame, and striking original pieces. Gregg Hill shows his love of the Latin style with a basket of original jazz compositions with a strong Latin flavor. Regional star players Mike Daniels, Jon Gewirtz, Arlene McDaniel, Terry Newman, and Xavier Rosario round out Ritmo Patria with stellar performances. A must-have for Salsa/Latin jazz enthusiasts.

 

Ritmo Patria strolls the inter-tidal zones where Latin music and straight-ahead jazz surge, splash and pool together. It’s a barefoot dance that’s been going on for nearly 100 years. Just as no two sunsets on the beach are the same, this unique musical encounter is colored by a very specific set of people and circumstances.

Lansing-based guitarist, composer, singer, and bandleader Miguel (Michael) Eyia has been a constant presence on the mid-Michigan scene since the 1970s when he formed his long-running salsa band, Orquesta Ritmo. Composer Gregg Hill, a longtime jazz fanatic and patron of jazz in Lansing, has blossomed into a prolific and accomplished composer in recent years.

At first blush, they appear very different from each other. Hill’s compositions incline toward the analytic and cerebral; Eyia’s pleading voice and flickering guitar glow with romantic fervor.

But nothing is clear-cut in the inter-tidal zones.

Born in Havana, Cuba, Eyia came to Lansing in 1961 as part of Operation Pedro Pan, a massive airlift of 14,000 Cuban children from Cuba to the United States in the wake of Fidel Castro’s revolution. He studied music at Michigan State University and Lansing Community College, where he became an instructor.

In the 1970s, Eyia founded Orquesta Ritmo, an artistic and educational institution that has outlasted countless musical trends and waves to keep the flame of Latin music lit in mid-Michigan and beyond, and is still swinging to this day.

Chords punched out by the whole band in Ritmo Patria provoke percussion vapor trails, like collisions in an atom smasher. The cross-currents of cool analysis and sweaty partying shouldn’t work on paper, but they make this collaboration — and the whole project — pop!

Hill says, “He brings that Latin passion, that fire when he sings, making his music irresistible.

Three compositions written or adapted solely by Eyia, keep a melancholy strain of Latin longing at the heart of the sessions.

 

— Laurence Cosentino

 

 

Mike Eyia  bandleader, arranger, Latin percussion, guitar, and vocals

Mike Daniels  drums

Jon Gewirtz  saxophone

Arlene McDaniel  keyboards, chart writing, arranging

Terry Newman  bass

Xavier Rosario  Latin percussion

Gregg Hill composer

 

 

 

1) Latin-Hattan - 5:34*

2) Ôdiame - 8:14

3) La Canción - 6:55*

4) Till We Meet Again - 6:27**

5) Tequila Chaser - 6:46*

6) The Singer - 6:46*

7) Recuerdos - 7:02**

8) Rio Mio - 6:01*

9) Quietude - 6:56*

 

Music Composed by Gregg Hill* and Mike Eyia**
Lyrics to “The Singer” and “Recuerdos” by Mike Eyia

Original Ôdiame Lyrics by Julio Jaramillo with
Coro / Soneo by Mike Eyia.

Produced by Mike Eyia and Gregg Hill.

Arrangements by Arlene McDaniel and Mike Eyia.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by
Corey DeRushia of Troubadour Recording Studios.

Photograph of Cuba by Linda Vail.
Studio band photography & album design by Lynne Brown.

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