An up-and-coming Canadian saxophonist, Niall Bakkestad-Legare has performed at New York’s elite jazz clubs, including Smalls, Mezzrow, Jazz at Kitano, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, 55 Bar, the Bar Next Door, and The Shapeshifter Lounge, and with artists such as the Philip Harper Quintet, Quincy Davis Quintet, Jimmy Greene Big Band, the Curtis Nowosad trio, and the multi-Grammy nominated Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Big Band.
Niall has toured throughout Canada, performing at many high-profile festivals including the Ottawa, Montreal, and Winnipeg International Jazz Festival. He has performed with international recording artists including multi-Grammy nominated reggae artist Luciano and Juno-nominated indie-pop band Royal Canoe.
In 2019, Niall was selected as one of eight semifinalists for the inaugural Michael Brecker International Saxophone Competition. The competition was created in honor of 15-time GRAMMY award winner and Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame inductee, saxophonist Michael Brecker, and was held at the internationally renown Red Sea Jazz Festival.
Niall’s musical philosophy revolves around the creation and disruption of a narrative, and is concerned with the listener’s experience of collective improvisation within structures that facilitate spontaneous dialogue. His composition and improvisations are shaped by both the Jazz and Classical traditions, with primary influences including Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Beethoven, Bach and Joe Henderson.
The winner of numerous scholarships and awards, Niall holds a Master in Music from the Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor in Jazz Performance from the University of Manitoba. He participated in the Ottawa Jazz Festival Youth Summit (2013) and the Banff International Workshop (2012).