“… 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…” 

Niall (Cade) Bakkestad-Legare is an accomplished saxophonist and composer, whose improvised music has received strong recognition in Canada and the United States.  As a young professional, Niall quickly gained recognition in his hometown of Winnipeg, becoming the one of the city’s first-call saxophonists, before relocating to New York City in 2015.  He has performed with many JUNO and GRAMMY-nominated musicians and toured to jazz festivals across Canada.  As an educator, Niall seeks to establish in his students a deep understanding of both the jazz tradition and current saxophone pedagogy. 

  • In the faculty


Performance highlights

Niall has appeared in concert alongside such jazz luminaries as the Philip Harper Quintet, the Quincy Davis Quintet, the Big Jimmy Greene Band, the Kenny Carr Group, the Steven Feifke Quartet, and Bobby Sanabria’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra.  Niall has performed at several internationally renowned jazz venues including Smalls Jazz Club, Mezzrow, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Jazz at Kitano, the 55 Bar, the Jazz Gallery, and the Bar Next Door.  Niall has toured throughout Canada, performing at many high-profile festivals including the Ottawa, Montreal, and Winnipeg International Jazz Festival. In 2019, Niall was a semifinalist in the inaugural Michael Brecker International Jazz Saxophone Competition traveling to Eilat, Israel to perform as a part of the Red Sea Jazz Festival.  A versatile instrumentalist, Niall has been featured in concert across a variety of genres, performing on stage with acts such as Mac DeMarco, Juno-nominated indie-pop band Royal Canoe, Moses Mayes, multi-Grammy nominated reggae artist Luciano, and Color Red recording artist Apollo Suns.  Niall is also an avid composer, having been commissioned to compose for both film and dance projects.


Ongoing research and creative works

Niall is keenly interested in learning psychology and expert skill acquisition in the field of improvised music.  His own research focuses on analyzing the music of past jazz masters to extrapolate conclusions on their developmental processes and practice regimens, with the first paper in this series concerning John Coltrane’s seminal recording Giant Steps.  A burgeoning creative voice, Niall’s current ensemble draws influence from the music of his cultural heritage, blending Hungarian and Metis traditional musics with contemporary jazz.  He also leads the contemporary jazz/funk group FauxPasFunk, which has been featured on TV broadcasts and played numerous high-profile events and venues around Winnipeg.