The timing of President Joe Biden’s announcement this week that the United States would support returned manned flights to the Moon could not have been more timely for new music and jazz composer Keyna Wilkins’s gig at Sydney’s cosily intimate Foundry 616 Jazz Club in Ultimo, Sydney.

Keyna Wilkins at Foundry 616 Keyna Wilkins at Foundry 616. Photo © Connor Malanos

The multi-talented musician has an abiding fascination with astronomy and a work at the centre of her one-hour solo set on Saturday night, Apollo 11 Mission, found her improvising on flute over NASA’s video and soundtrack of the historic 1969 moon landing.

The show also featured the world premiere of her new work for flute and harp, Moonbow, for which she shared the stage with American-born harpist Emily Granger in a duet that conjured up the sound worlds of Debussy and Ravel but with a distinctive original bent.

Wilkins opened the evening with a bracket of eclectic in-the-moment solos, alternating between the two instruments and sometimes using a tape loop to complement the NASA space sound effects of radio signals...