Irwin got his start at the age of 9 when he won a lottery in school and was gifted an alto saxophone. By the age of 11 he was on stage performing professionally, and soon began winning local, state and national music competitions. Irwin attended Princeton University on a full ride to study East Asian philosophy. His research took him to Japan and China where his music took a deeper, more introspective turn. He learned Japanese and after graduating moved to Tokyo to begin work as a research assistant to the Editor-in-Chief of a major Japanese newspaper. But he was unable to resist his calling, and not long after, while at the Tokyo Jazz Festival, he ran into songstress Melody Gardot who heard him play and immediately hired him to tour with her band. He quit his job and went on back-to-back international tours as the featured soloist with Melody, earning rave reviews and write-ups. He has since gone on to tour, perform, and record with 3x Grammy/Tony Award winning NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater, soul icon John Legend, bass virtuoso Charnett Moffett, and countless more. He has performed in cities around the world including London, Tokyo, Shanghai, Prague, New York, Paris, Melbourne, etc. His new sonic collective #JUSTMUSIC captures his unmistakable sound and approach, steeped in tradition, always pushing towards the future.
Irwin's musical passions also extend into the classroom