Jazz quartet Mind’s Eye kicks off GV Arts at Noon series

Matt Oberski

The Grand Rapids-based contemporary jazz group Mind’s Eye has performed at music festivals and concerts around the world – their next stop, Grand Valley State University on Sept. 5 to kick off the Arts at Noon Series.

The four members, Steve Talaga, piano, Rob Smith, trumpet and saxophone, Keith Hall, drums and Tom Lockwood, bass, have taught jazz at several different universities and at music facilities around the world. Lockwood currently teaches jazz bass as an adjunct professor at GVSU.

Each member has played in several different music groups and jazz orchestras before forming Mind’s Eye over 10 years ago.

Talaga started playing jazz music in high school. He went on to get a teaching position at Aquinas College with the help of Bruce Early, a former professor of music at Aquinas. After his first class there, teaching opportunities just started appearing at several different schools.

“It all just kinda fell into my lap,” Talaga said.

But teaching classes at six different colleges including GVSU, left little time to play shows of his own, Talaga said. He decided to exclusively teach at Aquinas and Hope College, and started playing more gigs of his own on the side.

Teaching has held a spot in all the member’s lives.

Smith started his professional career with the Woody Herman Orchestra, touring the United States and Canada, before getting his first job teaching in Nova Scotia.

Holding part-time teaching jobs around the country, and having the opportunity to play around the world, was incredible, Smith said.

“It’s kind of like a dream. Your dreams do come true, if you stick with it,” he said.

Mind’s Eye began as a way for the members to play their original material together. Over a decade later, they have released four albums, the most recent being “Children of the Glacier.”

Talaga and Smith recommend to students that if they aspire to make music, to stay determined and dedicated.

“We are all artists,” Talaga said.

Catch Mind’s Eye free performance at noon on Sept. 5 in the Cook-DeWitt Center on GVSU’s Allendale Campus. For more information about the performance, visit the music departments website at gvsu.edu/music, or gvsu.edu/artscalandar for more Arts at Noon Series events.

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