Keeping an all-star collective ensemble going is a steep challenge in the best of times. I.P.A., a quintet that brings together some of Scandinavia’s most esteemed improvisers, has created a striking new album in the worst of times. The group’s sixth release overall and third for Cuneiform, Grimsta is an emphatic statement about the ineluctable power of musical communion; it’s a project bristling with energy sparked by shaping new works together in real time.
I.P.A. sounds energized and fearless on Grimsta, a program that explores a wide array of kinetic jazz idioms. Named after an ancient forest near Broo’s house in Stockholm, it’s an expansive blast of acoustic metal jazz that quickly gathers momentum.
After an extended period of not playing together due to COVID, Grimsta captures the quintet’s excitement at getting back to work. “The album came about out of the urge to make some new music,” reedman Atle Nymo says, noting that almost every piece was a fresh addition to the repertoire. “It felt like a fresh beginning.”
While all the players are committed to an array of bands and projects, the five musicians in I.P.A. have found kindred exploratory spirits in the group. With Grimsta, the players have taken another step into the void, bringing new sounds into the world informed by their multiplicity of connections, influences and relationships. “Everyone is contributing,” Ståhl says. “There’s not an obvious leader in the band. We all bring something different into the band and out of each other. That’s what I find so cool.”
Atle Nymo - Tenor sax og kontrabass klarinett
Magnus Broo - Trompet
Mattias Ståhl - Vibrafon og sopran sax
Ingebrigt Håker Flaten - Bass
Håkon Mjåset Johansen - Trommer