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Five Play: What the World Needs Now

Two familiar anthems are the bookends here, the album’s 1965 title tune opening the set and Helen Reddy’s huge 1972 hit, “I Am Woman,” serving as the chaser. The best of what the all-female quintet delivers, whether you’re listening for tight arrangements or inspired soloing, lies in between.

Burt Bacharach’s melody sounds freshened when unburdened of lyrics that blithely presume an everlasting ocean and a superabundance of corn and wheat. But the line, arranged by leader Sherrie Maricle and bassist Noriko Ueda in 4/4 instead of the original 3/4, sounds dumbed down instead of jazzed up. Compared with the peppy pace and the nifty horn writing that follows in “I Want to Be Happy,” arranged by Maricle (she actually plays part of the melody on her drum set!) and reedperson Janelle Reichman, the opener sounds downright lackadaisical.

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