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Review: Mina and the Wondrous Flying Machine

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Mina and the Wondrous Flying Machine
Sept. 10, Chatterbox Jazz Club
4.5 stars

Based on age and experience alone, I don’t know if we can realistically call Mina Keohane a wunderkind anymore. But not a full eight full years after NUVO named her one of our Thirty Under Thirty up-and-coming artists, she’s still not what you’d call old — and she’s still full of surprises. She still possesses a songbird’s voice, a wisdom beyond her years and a delightfully smooth way of gliding across the piano keys.

Mina showed a knack for jazz collaboration very early on with the Mina Keohane Group, and that continues with her most recent project, Mina and the Wondrous Flying Machine, whose members have been together since 2009, but who performed for only the second time during a three-hour set at the Chatterbox Saturday night. Not that you could tell; they maintain the easy confidence and unity one expects from longtime veterans (and several of them are).

The group’s blend of jazz, hip hop and pop is the ideal sound for the long, slim profile of the Chatterbox, easily filling up the space without being overpowering. They jumped from style to style and genre to genre with great elegance, varying between four and six performers at any time, with everything from a didgeridoo to a brief guest bit from local man-about-town T.J. Reynolds adding some rap stylings to Mina’s graceful voice. Everything from mournful sonic sculptures to crisp, lightweight ballads carried the day — always in celebration of the moment, whether it be the memory of something long gone or the freshness of something new.

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