Before joining Cannonball Adderley's Quintet in 1965 and staying with the band until Adderley's death in 1975, he had played with Chuck and Gap Mangione in the Jazz Brothers (1960–1961), as well as with Bobby Timmons, Betty Carter and Sonny Rollins (1963–1964), appearing on the classic 1963 album Sonny Meets Hawk!.
He attended the Eastman School of Music from sixteen to eighteen, during which time he also played professionally with Roy Eldridge and with Eddie Vinson at seventeen. In 1960 he joined the Art Farmer - Benny Golson Jazztet and remained for two years.
Among the influences he cites Louie Bellson, Shelly Manne, Sam Woodyard, Buddy Rich, Papa Jo Jones, Philly Joe Jones and the bands of Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford and Lionel Hampton.
He has also played and/or recorded with Count Basie, Wes Montgomery, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Joe Williams, Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell, Art Pepper, and the jazz rock group Blood, Sweat and Tears, etc.
He appears on the classic 1983 recording Jackson, Johnson, Brown & Company featuring Milt Jackson on vibes, J. J. Johnson on trombone, Ray Brown on bass, Tom Ranier on piano, and John Collins on guitar.
As of 2010, McCurdy is an Adjunct Professor in the Jazz Studies Department of the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California.