b. 1961, Milltown, New Jersey, USA. Kikoski began playing piano at the age of six, encouraged and taught by his father, himself a part-time musician. While a teenager, Kikoski was working jazz gigs at various venues in New Jersey. He attended the Berklee College Of Music and during this time played locally as a member of a trio that included Ira Coleman and Terri Lyne Carrington. After graduating from Berklee in 1984, Kikoski played with many noted jazz musicians of the day and also worked with the Woody Herman Alumni Band. In particular, and most significantly, was an encounter with Roy Haynes who immediately hired him for a European tour. Kikoski spent 15 years with Haynes. After this time, he began another long-running stint, this time with the Mingus Big Band and the Charles Mingus Orchestra. Among numerous musicians with whom Kikoski has worked are Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Chick Corea, Peter Erskine, Al Foster, Tom Harrell, Joe Henderson, Dave Holland, Ingrid Jensen, Joe Locke, Brian Lynch, Christian McBride, Marcus Miller, Chris Potter, Red Rodney, John Scofield, Mike Stern, and Toots Thielemans.
Among regular members of his working trio have been bass players Avishai Cohen, James Genus and John Patitucci, and drummers Billy Hart, Victor Lewis and Jeff Watts.In addition to numerous homeland engagements, Kikoski has toured Japan and Russia as leader of his own trio, and in 2001 he toured with the Brecker Brothers Acoustic Band. He continued working with Haynes through the late 90s and into the early 00s. In addition to his playing, Kikoski is also a talented composer and arranger. His work as an arranger includes several charts of songs by John Lennon and Paul McCartney as part of BeatleJazz, a trio he formed with bass player Charles Fambrough and drummer Brian Melvin. However, it is as a pianist that he is best known, displaying astonishing technical facility and brilliantly inventive improvisational gifts. He is also expert in the use of various electronic keyboard instruments.