Isha Love | Jars of Waters
by Peggy Oliver
The main attraction for me when artists piece together impactful music is how they pour their genuine heart out for their craft, especially for the independent musician. Before diving into those independent waters, Isha Love began playing the piano at an early age before she realized her career in high school as a musician in the jazz market, along with an extensive discipline in classical music. While attending the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Mass., the South Korean born pianist/composer’s exposure to the urban church fueled a deeper appreciation for gospel music, successfully intertwining her background in classical and jazz while playing during various church worship services. For her intuitive piano skills, she was also called upon to accompany in the Berklee Voice Department before obtaining her B.A. in Piano Performance.
While preparing the three-year path towards her solo debut, Love envisioned where God was filling jars of the Living Water sited throughout the Bible, molding her themes of streams, lakes, rivers and oceans. The self-released, Jars of Waters, can be best described as a solo piano orchestral suite of familiar hymns and ten original compositions focusing on the aforementioned themes.
“Nothing But the Blood” utilizes jazz bridges with the soul of urban gospel though it takes numerous listens to figure out the chorus. The more recognizable turn for “I’ve Got Peace Like a River” runs on a boogie-woogie bass, while the shimmering keys delightfully point to the joy of peace personified. Thriving on a heavy power source from Love, “There Is a Fountain” rolls from the thunderous chords to the explosive climax producing a slight percussive effect. On the other hand, the soothing canvas of “Draw Me Nearer” could fit into a quiet storm, contemporary classical or gospel radio format with the dancing keys reflecting the majesty of Jesus.
Where Jars of Waters gets slightly consumed into the over meditative new age zone is with some of the original material, including “Crucifixion” and “The Road”. Thankfully, these moments are few and far between. The fluidity of the keys signifies the waters sweetly flowing throughout the Irish-accented title track. “Heaven in Me” radiates and dances throughout this up tempo arrangement, touched by soulful brushes. Tapping into the gospel quartet tradition, “When He Comes” provides a toe-tapping lively spirit. “Without You Where Would I Be” floats gracefully with a simple waltz ease and charm. Finally, “Where You Lead Me” sets a definitive worship tone, as Love’s spacing between the melody and the delicate high notes lets the music breathe minus the excess clutter.
Love should be highly applauded for her concept behind Jars of Waters that satisfies a gospel music void for those who may temporarily want to back away from overwhelming bombastic arrangements and soak in the techno-less waters demonstrated by her keyboard dexterity. Despite the occasional new age humps, Love has successfully fulfilled her three-year desire to capture her illustration of the living waters being filled in the jars. Four and one-quarter out of five stars.
The Urban Music Scene