Exposé Online banner

Exposé Online

Not just outside the box, but denying the existence of boxes.
Covering music from the fringes since 1993.


I.P.A. — Grimsta
(Cuneiform Rune 522, 2023, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2024-04-16

Grimsta Cover art

On Grimsta, I.P.A. continues the distinctive flavor of jazz they’ve developed on previous albums like Bashing Mushrooms (2020) and I Just Did Say Something (2016) — to mention the two I’ve heard. Google tells me that “grimsta” is Swedish for “grimace,” but certainly there’s nothing on this album to bring on unpleasant facial expressions. While their music is far removed from anything that might be described as “smooth,” it’s also not harsh or grating. Some of the pieces are full of improvisation, and the saxophone does venture into the edgier side of the spectrum, but there’s no outright honking or screeching. The quintet is intact from the last three albums: Atle Nymoo (tenor sax, bass clarinet), Magnus Broo (trumpet), Mattias Ståhl (vibraphone, soprano sax), Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (upright bass), and Håkon Mjaset Johansen (drums). The acoustic instrumentation, eschewing any electronic enhancements, does not lead to a stale, traditional style of jazz. There are certainly echoes of the adventurous (but non-rock-oriented) jazz of the 60s and 70s, like that of Wayne Shorter and Freddie Hubbard, though hearing vibes in this context is a little different, and I.P.A. doesn’t end up sounding much like The Claudia Quintet either. Each of the seven tracks is distinctive and engaging — some of my favorites are the opener “Ballet,” the concise “Stray,” and the energetic “Flow for Feste,” but there are no weak links. I don’t recall hearing Ståhl on soprano sax on previous albums, and it’s not widely used here, but when it shows up, the higher timbre is a nice addition. Any jazz fan should find plenty to like here — unless they’re the kind who only like smooth grooves without any challenges.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): I.P.A.

More info


What's new

These are the most recent changes made to artists, releases, and articles.