Michael Cichowicz was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1953. The son of famed Chicago Symphony 2nd trumpet player and Northwestern Professor of Trumpet, Vincent Cichowicz, Michael started playing trumpet at age 6. Michael studied with his father and Charlie Geyer through his high school years. After graduating Evanston Township High School in 1971, he spent 4 years in the United States Navy Band serving in Norfolk, VA, San Diego, CA, Pearl Harbor, HI and the Western Pacific during the last years of the Vietnam War.
While stationed in Pearl Harbor, Michael met Jerry Hey, (Michael Jackson, Earth Wind & Fire, Al Jarreau) who became a big influence in reigniting his dedication to the trumpet. After his discharge from the Navy in 1975, Michael made the decision to move to the Los Angeles area to be close to its vibrant commercial music industry. He attended Pepperdine University from 1976-1978 and spent 1979 in a year long program in the Dick Grove Professional Instrumental Program where he interacted with some of Los Angeles’ finest studio musicians.
In 1980 Michael was hired to play lead trumpet in the orchestra at Harrah’s Casino in Reno, NV, inheriting the chair once held by trumpet greats Rick Baptist, George Graham and Joe Davis. While there, Michael performed with artists such as Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Burt Bacharach, Natalie Cole and Lou Rawls. From there he moved up to Lake Tahoe in 1982 to split the lead trumpet chair with Joe Rodriguez at the Harrah’s Hotel and Casino located there.
During his time at Harrah’s, Michael started making guest appearances with the legendary R&B/Soul band, Tower of Power. When Mic Gillette decided to leave the group, Michael was asked to audition for the lead trumpet spot and was hired in January, 1983. Michael played with Tower of Power until early1985.
During his years with Tower of Power, the horn section joined Huey Lewis and the News for a majority of their 1983-84 record breaking “Sports” tour. He also recorded the song “Trouble In Paradise” with the band for the Grammy winning, “We Are The World” album and was part of Huey Lewis’ Grammy winning “Heart of Rock and Roll” Showtime special in the “Best Long Term Video” category in 1984.
After leaving Tower of Power, Michael played, toured and recorded with Rod Stewart. With Rod, he made appearances on the MTV Music Video awards and was a part of a “Faces” reunion at Wembley Stadium in London before a crowd of 85,000 fans. The band included original Faces members Ronnie Lane and Ian McLagen and Rolling Stones greats Ronnie Wood and Bill Wyman as well as Who drummer Kenny Jones!
Other artists that Michael has either played, toured or recorded with include Joe Cocker, Frankie Valli, Gino Vanelli, The Beach Boys, Smokey Robinson, Dr. John, The YellowJackets, Natalie Cole, The O’Jays, 38 Special, Bruce Willis, Aretha Franklin, Rare Earth and many, many more.
Michael now resides in Chicago, IL and San Antonio, TX and continues to play, tour and do Master Classes around the world. He has also written 4 books with Mark Dulin, about his father, Vincent Cichowicz’ teaching philosophy. He is, along with Rich Stoelzel, one of the founding members of the World Trumpet Society as well as its Chief Operating Officer.