Rich was inspired to take up music by his Father Bill who sang songs from musicals and played guitar, performing songs like Try To Remember from The Fantasticks. He took up the violin at age 8, switched to the double bass at 11, and began studying the piano at 13. At 15 he played bass for a college vocal jazz group, which included his brother Mike (singing bass), and toured California. In college, Rich (piano, bass) studied with jazz guitarist Al Galante, and led a jazz quintet. In the late 1980s, while in Clemson S.C., he played bass with Jazz Essence, a trio that included Dick Underwood on piano, and played bebop in the tradition of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford Brown, and Bud Powell.
He recently recorded an album of songs he wrote over the last 30 odd years, with a few standards thrown into the mix. He has had the privilege of recording with several Northwest jazz stalwarts. Musical personnel on the project include Todd Strait (drums), Tom Wakeling (bass), Chuck Deardorf (bass), Eric Eagle (drums), Gavin Bondy (flugelhorn, trumpet), David Evans (tenor sax), Fred Hoadley (piano), Shanna Anjali (vocal), Carlos Cascante (vocal, percussion), Jeff Bongo Busch (percussion), Marisol Berrios-Miranda (percussion), Marco de Carvalho (guitar), Kirsten James (flute) and Bill MacDonough (piano). The album, which is he considers a present to himself on the occasion of his 52nd birthday, will be released sometime in March 2014 at a series of concerts in Portland, OR, Seattle, WA and his hometown of Longview, WA.