Felix Peikli Quintet to Play Oslo Jazz Festival, August 20

By
Nick Balkin
August 6, 2010
Berklee's Felix Peikli Quintet
Photo provided by the artist

Norwegian clarinetist and Berklee student Felix Peikli will perform at the Oslo Jazz Festival on Friday, August 20. Peikli first played the Oslo Jazz Festival when he was just 12 years old; now he returns with his Berklee quintet composed of guitarist Italo Cunha, drummer Jeff Fajardo, pianist Takeshi Ohbayashi, and bassist Justin Richey.

In addition to the festival, the group will perform on TV 2's God Morgen Norge (Good Morning Norway) on August 19; at Norway's U.S. Embassy on August 21; at Tveten Gard: Park Kveld on August 21; and at Norway's Japanese Embassy on August 24. They will also teach master classes at Barratt Dues Musikkinstitutt on August 23 and 24.  

Born in Oslo, Norway, Felix Peikli found his way into music through the local marching band at the age of 8. His instrument—the clarinet—was picked out for him, but it turned out to be the perfect choice. Two years later, inspired by a Benny Goodman recording he received from his grandfather, he played his first gig, a jam session at the 2002 Oslo Jazz Festival. Too young to enter the festival, he and his mother argued their way in. Peikli enrolled at Barratt Due Classical Institute of Norway, where he studied from 2004 to 2008. While attending school, he performed on national TV to win the Grand Chance talent competition; became the youngest recipient of the Capital of Norway Honors Prize; received the National Dream Prize; and performed at festivals in Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Croatia. In 2007, he attended Berklee's Five-Week Summer Performance Program, where he won a full-tuition scholarship to study at Berklee full-time.

Italo Cunha, from Brasilia, Brazil, is a guitarist currently attending Berklee on scholarship. He decided to pursue music at a young age, studying with such top Brazilian jazz musicians as Paulo Andre Tavares, Lula Galvao, and Nelson Faria. He won first prize at Festbandas; was the youngest ever recipient of a Contemporary Musical Education Degree at Toque de Classe Institute; and was also chosen by Escola de Música de Brasília to play for Brazil's Minister of Education. At Berklee, he has performed with Marc Johnson, Lee Ritenour, Eliane Elias, Greg Osby, Esperanza Spalding, Hal Crook, Leo Blanco, Dave Santoro, and others.

Jeff Fajardo, a drummer from Denver, Colorado, is the recipient of Berklee's Juan Luis Guerra Presidential Scholarship. Born into a family of musicians, he began playing club gigs before reaching his teens. Fajardo has toured with Delfeayo Marsalis and has shared stages with Ellis Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Marcus Strickland, Mark Whitfield, Joe Lovano, Christian Scott, Esperanza Spalding, Donald Harrison, and others.

Takeshi Ohbayashi, from Hiroshima, Japan, is a pianist-turned-trumpeter who recently came back to the piano to pursue his love for jazz. After establishing himself in Hiroshima and Tokyo, Ohbayashi won a scholarship to attend Berklee, where he studies with JoAnne Brackeen, Hal Crook, Terri Lyne Carrington, Danilo Pérez, Ralph Peterson, and Dave Santoro. In 2007, he was one of 16 finalists chosen from hundreds of applicants worldwide to compete in the Montreux Jazz Solo Piano Competition.

Justin Richey, from Clovis, California, started playing guitar at age 11. Originally inspired by Led Zeppelin, Steve Vai, and Alice in Chains, in his junior year of high school he discovered jazz, notably the music of Michael Brecker, Brian Blade, and Pat Metheny. Richey has performed with Peter Epstein, Ingrid Jensen, and Terell Stafford, and at the 50th and 51st Monterey Jazz Festivals.

The Oslo Jazz Festival 2010 takes place August 16–21. The Toots Thielemans Quartet and Ornette Coleman play the opening night at Oslo's opera house. Other artists include the Helge Lien Trio, the Real Thing, and the Christianssand String Swing Ensemble with Fliflet/Hamre, Slugfield, and Tonje Unstad.