Michael Kanan is originally from Boston, MA, where he attended Boston College. His first jazz instructor, Harvey Diamond, was a student of legendary pianist and composer Lennie Tristano. After several years of study with Diamond, and many freelance gigs in Boston, Michael moved to New York City in 1991, where he studied for a year with Sal Mosca and then with Sophia Rosoff, with whom he currently studies.

From 1995-2001, Michael was the accompanist for vocal great Jimmy Scott, with whom he toured the United States, Europe and Japan, made numerous TV and radio performances, and recorded three CDs.

In addition to his work accompanying vocalists like Mr. Scott, Jane Monheit, Annie Ross, and Madeleine Peyroux, Michael has also played in many instrumental settings. He performed in New York with guitar wizard Kurt Rosenwinkel, and with him recorded the popular CD Intuit for Criss-Cross. Michael was also a founding member of the International Hashva Orchestra, which included Mark Turner and Jorge Rossy and has led his own trio, with bassist Ben Street and drummer Tim Pleasant, on two recordings for Fresh Sound Talent: Convergence and The Gentleman Is a Dope. His most recent CD is a duet album with saxophonist Nat Su, Dreams and Reflections.

For the last eleven years, Michael has been the pianist/arranger for the Jane Monheit band, touring the United Sates, Canada, Europe, Brazil and Japan and performing on several of her albums and DVDs.