Max Hatt / Edda Glass may seem like a duo—and, indeed, the two namesakes remain the band’s main fixtures—but they have also performed as both a trio and a quartet since their inception. Regardless of the full breadth of the output’s numbers, however, whether it’s two, three, or four, the point has been that Hatt and Glass have made a name for themselves within the world of jazz by means not quite as explored as the swing and bop sides of the expansive genre. Instead, they’re decidedly meditative and ethereal with a lyrical backbone which pervades their work as the masterful, interpretive instrumentation which jazz so very often requires of its musicians takes shotgun.
The end result on Ocean of Birds is decidedly different from many jazz records on the market today in a sense most crystalline, but which pays full homage to the idea of jazz as a storyteller’s genre not unlike the Western edge of roots might do in folk or country. The album arranges itself as an exemplification in the beauty of contemplation, and Hatt, a clever, complex songwriter and musician, and Glass, with a warm, pacific tone and impeccable vocal command, make a compelling argument for their brand of jazz with soulful inclinations. Dedicatedly low-tempo as it may be, the passion put into this album makes for an easy listen.