An up-and-coming young Canadian saxophonist, Niall Bakkestad-Legare has performed at New York’s elite jazz clubs, including Smalls, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, 55 Bar and The Shapeshifter Lounge, and with artists such as the Jimmy Greene Big Band, the Seth Weaver Big Band, the Niko Seibold Big Band, Vinyl Live, 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.
Niall’s musical philosophy revolves around the creating and disrupting a narrative and is concerned with the listener’s experience of collective improvisation within structures that facilitate spontaneous dialogue. His composition and improvisations draw from an array of influences, shaped by both the Jazz and Classical traditions. His primary influences include Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Bud Powell, and Joe Henderson. Niall leads several projects, including a sextet that explores original music, and a classical-inspired double quartet (jazz quartet with string quartet). In 2012, he founded the funk ensemble FauxPasFunk, a group that amalgamates the sounds of James Brown, Herbie Hancock, Zapp, and Parliament into a composition-driven, improvisation infused party band.
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). Niall studied with renown musicians including Jimmy Greene, Jon Gordon, Quincy Davis, Jim McNeeley, Phil Markowitz, Donny McCaslin, and Gary Smulyan.
“Niall Bakkestad-Legare is a powerful young tenor saxophonist… he has a big sound and tremendous facility, but he also has an open, philosophical nature that gives his musical ideas reach and depth” – Dig Magazine
“As an improviser, Niall is creative and witty, while maintaining a very clear and organized melodic line through harmony. His technique and great ears allow for him to express a great range of timbres and emotions on the saxophone, and his jazz vocabulary is firmly established and ever expanding” – Jimmy Greene