Kevin Dean was born in 1954 on a North Iowa farm near Mason City, Iowa. He graduated from Iowa University with an MA in music in 1976. He later received his Masters degree from Miami University in Miami Florida in 1980 in jazz performance and pedagogy.
In 1980 he was on the newly formed faculty at St. Francis of Xavier in Nova Scotia to develop a jazz program for the maritime provinces. In 1984 he accepted the position of director of Jazz Studies at McGill University, in Montreal, the position he currently holds. He is an avid composer, trumpet player and leader of small groups.
He has performed in concert with such prominent names as Jimmy Heath, Benny Golson, and Joe Henderson. His current passion is the Hammond B3 organ and recently made his debut on the instrument as soloist with the Montreal Big Band.