Jaak Sooäär (b. 1972) was born in Tallinn, Estonia. In 1994, he graduated from the Music College in Tallinn and, in 2001, from the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen. Since 2001, he has taught guitar at the Jazz Music Department of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and, since 2004, acted as the head of the department.
Sooäär’s first concerts (all over the Soviet Union) took place as a member of the Estonian Boys’ Choir in which he started singing at the age of seven. Since 1989, he has been active on the Estonian jazz and pop scene, playing guitar literally with everybody of note.
Since the late 1990s, Sooäär has performed with many internationally known jazz musicians, including Ray Anderson, Conny Bauer, Han Bennink, Raoul Björkenheim, Eric Brochard, Gavin Bryars, Kent Carter, Will Calhoun, Pierre Dørge, Anders Jormin, Dave Kikoski, Alexey Kruglov, Joelle Léandre, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, Ramon Lopez, Ron McClure, Karlheinz Miklin, Liudas Mockunas, John Schröder, Harri Sjöström and Petras Vyshniauskas, and has been active in several international bands, including The Dynamite Vikings, Erdmann/Sooäär Dessert Time (1st prize at international Peer Gynt Improvisation Contest in Pärnu, Estonia, in 2001), Mockunas-Pasborg Project and Almost Zebra (3rd place at the 5th European Improvisation Tournament in Poitiers, France, in 2001). In May 2006 Sooäär performed as guest soloist with WDR Big Band (Germany).
In 1999, Sooäär toured with The European Jazz Youth Orchestra and, in 2003, took part in the EBU Big Band in Istanbul, Turkey. One of his Estonian groups,Eesti Keeled, was given the Estonian Music Award as the best etno/folk artist both in 2003 and in 2005. In 2007 Sooäär was the first jazz musician to get Estonian Annual Jazz Prize and the same year he also recieved annual prize of Estonian Culture Endownment (Eesti Kultuurkapital). Jaak Sooäär appears on around 20 jazz CD-s.