Michael "Gooch" Gurciullo has been associated with big bands ever since he was a kid in Omaha, NE. All through jr. high and high school he played in the usual school programs, but also worked outside of those settings in professional big bands in the local area. Upon completion of high school, Gooch chose North Texas State University for his continuing education. He got to work with great jazz educators like Rich Matteson, Dan Haerle, and Jack Peterson. Outside of the university, Gooch studied privately with world famous trumpet virtuoso, Don “Jake” Jacoby. While attending N.T.S.U., Mike formed his own big band called, “The Arctic Muther’s.” It was comprised of some of the best young talents in the music program at the time. He also co-led a big band with Don Jacoby called, “The Swing of Things.” While still in college, Mike did some touring with Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians under the direction of Art Mooney.
Upon completion of N.T.S.U., Gooch gigged for a year as the featured soloist with the world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. After touring, he moved west to Monterey, California. While there, he free lanced from Monterey to San Francisco. He also founded The Monterey Jazz Orchestra, which played Monday nights at Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch in Carmel.
After several years in California, Gooch set forth for the Entertainment Capital of the World: Las Vegas. During his twelve year stint in Vegas, he worked most of the major showrooms and lounges with shows like The Rat Pack Is Back, Jump Jive & Wail, Don Menza Big Band, Lon Bronson All Star Band, and the Susan Anton Show to name a few. In 2004, Gooch also founded his Las Vegas Big Band. He had the top-call players meet with him on Monday nights to bring some of the hottest big band jazz to the people of Las Vegas. He also carried the lead/jazz trumpet spot in the Wayne Newton Orchestra for 5 years, traveling exclusively with Mr. Newton all over the US, Canada, and the 2006 Australian Tour.
In 2008, Gooch returned to his hometown of Omaha, NE., where he married the “hometown sweetheart.” Once again, he assembled, Gooch & His Las Vegas Big Band, (the midwest version). Gooch and his band found a home to play on Monday nights at The Ozone, inside Anthony’s Steakhouse. In April of 2018, they celebrated their 10th anniversary of playing at The Ozone. During that time period they played over 650 gigs in the midwest.
Gooch released his first big band CD in 2010 entitled, “The Other Half Of Me.” In 2015, Gooch released his second big band CD called, “Start of Something Big.” He is also working on his followup CD which will feature all original compositions.
He still works with many of the cats from Vegas in two shows called, “Drinkin’, Singin’, Swingin’ ” and “Sinatra Forever.” In addition to Laughlin and Vegas, those shows tour throughout the U.S. In 2010, they capped a successful tour of Chile, South America, returning just days before a massive earthquake struck Chile.
Between shows and gigs, Gooch is currently on the faculty for 3 jazz camps in the midwest. In 2017, Downbeat Magazine awarded the Jazz Education Achievement award to the Vail program, Jazz Goes To School. which Gooch has been teaching at for over 10 years. Since 2016, Gooch has also been touring the country as a member of The Official Blues Brothers Review.
In November of 2018, Gooch relocated to the Phoenix area to set up his base of operations. Stay tuned for more…