Born and raised just outside of New York City, in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Kris was lucky enough to be exposed to classical music, jazz, and traditional Hungarian music from his family as a young child.
Kris attended and completed his bachelor's degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. While attending Berklee, he would make regular pilgrimages back to New York to study with bebop master, Barry Harris.
In 2011, Tokarski moved to New Orleans to complete a master's degree at the University of New Orleans. Shortly after moving to the "Cradle of Jazz" he embraced the early piano traditions of the city as well as those of the early New York and Chicago masters. A keen interest in the music of Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, Earl Hines and Teddy Wilson; combined with his bebop roots allowed Tokarski to develop an all encompassing voice of his own, deeply rooted in the jazz piano tradition.
Tokarski also manages a busy schedule outside of New Orleans. He has performed at a number of major national and international festivals including the Umbria Winter Jazz Festival, The Montreal Jazz Fest, The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the French Quarter Fest, San Diego Jazz Fest, etc. He’s performed at world class venues such as Snug Harbor, Preservation Hall, The Green Mill, and The Jazz Corner. Kris has shared the stage and performed with Jason Marsalis, Duke Heitger, Evan Christopher, Tim Laughlin, Andy Schumm, Connie Jones, Hal Smith, and many others.
He has recorded on a number of records as a sideman and as a leader. While he is recognized largely by traditional jazz lovers, he has also recorded and toured in the realm of popular music with the “Squirrel Nut Zippers”.