Arbors has become the home of a quality cadre of traditional-minded jazz musicians. While this has made the label ideal for older players like Ruby Braff and Bucky Pizzarelli, Arbors isn't just about nostalgia for traditional jazz. The Michiko Ogawa Trio, for instance, centers on a talented Japanese pianist who's fairly new to the scene. On her first album for the label, It's All About Love, she's joined by bassist Phil Flanigan and drummer Ed Metz Jr. The material is grounded in classic jazz with versions of familiar pieces like "I Cover the Waterfront," "All of Me," and "Body and Soul." The trio is occasionally augmented by tenor Harry Allen and the overall program is bolstered here and there with Ogawa's vocals. Indeed, it's the presence of Ogawa's vocals on a rhythm-friendly "All of Me" and the bass-heavy "What Is This Thing Called Love?" that work best here. Only a couple of cuts exceed the six-minute mark on It's All About Love, meaning that the arrangements are lean and tight. The variation of straight trio pieces with vocals and Allen's tenor also keeps the disc from falling into an overly familiar groove. Fans of modern jazz and the classic songbook will enjoy the Michiko Ogawa Trio.
AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.