Freedom - Single (2021)
Review By Dan Fister
December 22, 2021
Most of the time, the songs we write about sound good, possibly even great. At their best, tracks convey the emotion of a song and maybe even something about the ensemble performing it. Freedom is not only musically excellent; it captures the joy and camaraderie of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst Dynamics, a longtime group that RARB last reviewed over a decade ago.
Freedom doesn't hit you over the head with volume or arranging pyrotechnics. The Dynamics take a more subtle approach to their spin on Allen Stone's lively blue-eyed soul number. Arranger Nathan Hermida dials down the energy just a tad and opts for a smaller, jazzier combo sound that the group executes very well. This texture also provides more flexibility as the group shifts moods between relaxed cool and churning delight. The rhythm section is very much in sync, although I would have liked a slightly broader kit of sounds and grooves from vp Kaitlin Morehouse to match the track's range.
All of these choices allow for soloist CJ Pingeton to shine. Pingeton, who sounds more than a little like Adele, drives the musical arc and energy of the track. Even so, at times I wished for slightly less solo in the mix so I could hear more of the background voices, a small critique of otherwise fine mixing by Tim Bongiovanni of Northgate Studios and mastering by Dave Sperandio. But when the group exudes this much elation singing together (which you can see a slice of on this charming video made for the single), and the voices sound this good, you want to hear everyone.