Not to be confused with the older Swing and Bop jazz drummer and percussionist Johnny Rae and the songwriter Jackie Rae!
He recorded his first album at the age of 16, when he was working with saxophonist Tommy Smith. He recorded many jazz records for BBC. He was drummer for the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra from 2000 to 2003, directed Off Kilter and played with the following bands (to be able to distinguish from the eponymous artist):
The Troubles, Giant Stepping Stones, John Rae Collective, John Rae's Celtic Feet, The Afro-Celtic Jazz Ensemble and others.
He collaborated with Barney Kessel, Martin Taylor, Lee Konitz and many others.
Rae moved to New Zealand for a one-year residence and stayed in New Zealand. There he runs a jazz ensemble and teaches at the New Zealand School of Music.