At a time when jazz has been to the reaches of the musical universe and back, some would say that it's all been played before and we're currently at a point in the cyclical nature of this artform when those lesser talents are merely rewriting the past. This is why innovation and individualism are so rare these days and why David Kikoski stands apart from the scores of pianists/keyboardists as well as composers.
Born in 1961 in Milltown,N.J. ,Dave was part of a musical family and given his first piano lessons at the age of six by his father.In his early teens he began working with jazz and rock groups and won "The New Jersey Allstate Jazz Competition". After high school, Kikoski would head to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston where he earned a bachelor's degree in piano. While in Boston he had a steady trio gig and met Pat Matheny who sat in with Dave's trio. Later( in 1994) they would meet up again and record together on Roy Haynes' cd "Te-Vou" which also featured Christian McBride and Donald Harrison.
In 1984 , the pianist decided to try his hand in New York where it didn't take long for him to establish himself. Roy Haynes would be the first to give Kikoski a break, leading to a productive association that lasts to this day. Dave's first professional recording session in 1986 was Randy Brecker's "In the Idiom" and featured him in great company with Joe Henderson,Ron Carter, and Al Foster. During his first few years on the New York scene the pianist networked with other musicians leading to a wealth or recording opportunities and touring the world with Roy Haynes, Randy Brecker, Bob Berg ,Red Rodney and many others.
In 1989 Dave recorded his first record as a leader. "Presage" featured a high-octane trio with Eddie Gomez and Al Foster. His second outing "Persistant Dreams" was produced by Walter Becker of Steely Dan fame featured a larger ensemble including Randy Brecker and Billy Hart.
During the 90s Dave kept busy recording and touring as a leader as well as a sideman with an enviable cast of jazz luminaries including John Scofield, Ravi Coltrane,Chris Potter, Dave Holland, Mike Stern, Chick Corea, Bill Stewart,Toots Thielemans, Tom Harrell, Gary Thomas, Marcus Miller, Michael Brecker, Pat Martino , Jack Dejohnette,Toninho Horta and many others.
In 1994, a contract with the short lived Sony Epicure label produced the self titled "Dave Kikoski", atrio set that found the pianist in the company of bassist Essiet Essiet and Al Foster. Since !997, Kikoski has had a chance to further document his artistic growth in a series of releases for the Dutch" Criss Cross" label. The 1998 release "The Maze " featured Jeff "Tain" Watts ,Seamus Blake and Scott Colley. "A technical and compositional tour tour de force,this album is one of the undicovered gems of the 1990s," accoring to writer David R. Adler.His release "Almost Twilight " was recorded after a week of trio gigs at "Sweet Basil" with John Patitucci and Jeff "Tain Watts.