Catch Rich Irwin play a sound check at the Upstairs Club in Montreal, and although he tunes his heads up, you enjoy a resonance that transcends tight be-bop head tension. Whether it’s his grace, height, or straight-up posture, Rich seems to elicit more presence from his drums than the rigid jazz stylist. There’s plenty of stick tip audible on his ride cymbal—all of his cymbals—each capable of articulating a click discernible atop a warm, congenial wash. Note that he plays his bass drum and doesn’t just arbitrarily accent or “drop bombs”. In this regard, he’s half Tony Williams, half John Bonham. Rich is first-call for in-town, rehearsed jazz gigs—and for visiting artists, traveling sans band, who need someone to fit-in instantly. Thus we see him touring with acclaimed pop artist Nikki Yanofsky, digging a deep trench for saxophonist Dave Liebman, and falling into step for Orchestre National de Jazz, Donny McCaslin, Effendi Jazz Lab, Vic Vogel, Christine Jensen (with whom he scored a Grammy), and so many others. Rich Irwin appears on over fifty major jazz albums. Live, he’s a respected figure from the North Sea Jazz Festival to the Blue Note in Tokyo. Watch the way his effortless, smooth execution seems to aid him in tone and time.