He is best known as the lead singer (and guitarist/pianist) with popular rock band, Thirsty Merc. But Rai Thistlethwayte began his career in music as a jazz pianist, working in Sydney with Errol Buddle, James Muller and Dale Barlow, among others. The success of Thirsty Merc has meant that he has channelled most of his time and energy in that direction. But his jazz chops are well and truly intact, as Rai showed with memorable concerts at Wangaratta Jazz and Stonnington Jazz in 2011-12.
In recent years, Rai has been recording and performing here and in the States in solo, duo and trio formats, as Sun Rai. And he has been a featured guest with James Morrison, Christian McBride and The Subterraneans.
"It's a well-kept secret that Rai is an outstanding jazz pianist... I consider Rai the most exciting young jazz pianist to emerge in this country in recent years." - Mark Isaacs