I first encountered John Rae over 20 years ago playing on Hue & Cry’s album Stars Crash Down. The same band were responsible for introducing me to the pianist Brian Kellock, whose solo on their cover of All True Man is for me the highlight of the album Jazznotjazz - and that’s an album which showcases Michael and Randy Brecker, Tommy Smith and Mike Stern. So an album featuring both of them was always likely to be of interest to me.
Interest is probably the word for it, though, because this is pretty nuts. Its music you might hear at a ceilidh, only played with a jazz sensibility. So you’ve got the standard drums, bass, piano, sax but with a concertina and fiddle thrown into the mix. Sometimes it works a treat, particularly on the more exuberant tracks; sometimes the meld of the two styles is less natural. It’s like nothing I’ve heard before though, and it’s not often I get to say that these days.