Eleven Eyes
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Eleven Eyes

Eugene, Oregon, United States | INDIE

Eugene, Oregon, United States | INDIE
Band Jazz Funk


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"Jazz Review (article #1)"

Featured Artist: Eleven Eyes
CD Title: Depth Perception
Year: 2003
Record Label: New & Improv Music
Style: Acid Jazz

Infused with vocal clips and political intrigue, Depth Perception by Eleven Eyes is a voyage of acid discovery. This is music for now with rhythms of the streets, melodies of youth and messages for the masses. Your senses are reeling with the hip-hop turntable manipulation in “Overdrawn.” Tim McLaughlin (trumpet) and Matt Calkins (saxophone) rev it up with saucy mixes of experimental delights. Dave Trenkel (bass) kicks it up in “052402.” As the band twists and turns, your hear President Bush in the background. The beat drives you forward into a sense of self-discovery. Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage” is given an updated tribute. You hear a Twilight Zone sort of vibe at the beginning that defines the remainder of the piece. “Theme to Down” concludes the album with a sense of cosmic funk. This album is only for the wide-eyed and the bold.

Record Label Website: http://www.newandimprov.com
Artist's Website: http://www.eleveneyes.org
Reviewed by: Cheryl Hughey
Copyright© 2003 JazzReview.com®. All Rights Reserved.
- JazzReview.com

"Jazz Review (article #2)"

Featured Artist: Eleven Eyes
CD Title: Depth Perception
Year: 2003
Record Label: New & Improv Music
Style: Soul / Funk Jazz

Okay. I demand to know why the producers of the remake of the movie "Shaft" did not use Eleven Eyes to do the majority of their soundtrack. This album is so funky that other cds in my collection just can't help but stare.

This album is not for the jazz purist, by any means. The main instrument seems to be turntables and sound effects manipulation, backed up by a strong drum beat and some tasty horn lines. As unorthodox as that may seem, there's some really wild stuff happening on this disc. The scratching, the voice samples, the strong bass, guitar and horns...I cannot even begin to imagine how in the heck they could ever perform these tunes live.

The opening number, "Overdrawn" sets the funk tone immediately, and with a strong sampling of turntable action, you know what you're in for. This is definitely an album that you buy and immediately put in your car's cd player. I can pretty much guarantee that you'll be pulled over for speeding or at least some irratic driving. "Fletch" has a nice synth baseline with some wacky audio tricks that make this album really fun to listen to with headphones. Hancock's "Maiden Voyage" is covered here, and is really, really fun to listen to if you have a very powerful subwoofer (there are subtones used here that rattle the fillings in your teeth).

I really dig this cd. I'm not sure if it will move the genre further down the evolutionary path, but it was a lot of fun to listen to.

Reviewed by: Joe Doherty
- JazzReview.com

"2 Walls Webzine"

Eleven Eyes
Depth Perception (2003)
Review by: Chelan David
Date: 10/1/03

Jazz is a beautiful genre. The freest form of musical expression dares you to imagine as improvised notes twist and soar, gradually burying deep into the recesses of your subconscious.

Listening to Depth Perception by Eleven Eyes, I imagine myself drinking hooch in a dimly lit underground jazz hall – possibly in Lower Manhattan or maybe on a hidden street in New Orleans. A light rain falls, the pitter-patter keeping time with the saxophone while the occasional roar of distant thunder echoes the pulsating beat of the turntable.

Unfortunately, one place I can’t imagine hearing Eleven Eyes is on the radio. Not because they’re untalented, simply because it’s tough to pigeonhole them – plus the fact that the few jazz groups that do get airplay typically don’t use turntables. This Oregon-based group is much more than jazz however, seamlessly mixing hip-hop, funk and electronica with instrumental jazz. If Weather Report added Herbie Hancock and DJ Shadow to their lineup the result would be very similar to Eleven Eyes.

Initially formed in 2002, for Tim McLaughlin’s senior trumpet recital at the University of Oregon, the band released its first album Depth Perception in June. The band consists of McLaughlin (trumpet, effects), Matt Calkins (saxophone), Mike Pardew (guitar), Dave Trenkel (bass, keyboards), Steve Weems (drums), and JD Monroe, aka The Turntable Enabler (turntable, electronics).

All ten songs on the disc are enjoyable and are original compositions with the exception of a cover of Herbie Hancock’s "Maiden Voyage." The standout track is "Big Dig" featuring McLaughlin leading the excavation Miles Davis style. Another interesting song is "052402" an eight-and-a-half minute track which features a sample of President Bush saying, "If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier."

Although Eleven Eyes is still in infancy, the band displays a cohesiveness that belies their inexperience playing together. Their debut album is strong and I look forward to tracking their careers and seeing how their work progresses.
- 2 Walls Webzine

"Turk's Head Review"

Eleven Eyes
Depth Perception
New & Improv Music

Very rarely these days does a refreshing disc come to me in the mail. Usually it's something fair to middlin', average songwriting and average muscianship. One worthy exception is Eleven Eyes' Depth Perception. Oregon-based Eleven Eyes (Tim McLaughlin - trumpet, effects; Matt Calkins - saxophones; Mike Pardew - guitar; JD Monroe - turntable/electronics; Dave Trenkel - bass, keys; and Steve Weems - drums) is basically a jazz fusion band, with a twist. They add hiphop and funk elements to the mix and some wonderfully inventive horn charts. Aside from a few turntable excesses, most of the time the combo works really well. The band grooves bodaciously and they have the jazz chops to keep the solos interesting. Each song has its own identity, making the disc an enjoyable listen. Except for a cover of Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage," the material is original. I've never thought about Oregon as a seedbed of new jazz; Eleven Eyes is going to start changing the way we think about all that.

reviewed 21-Jul-2003
Turk's Head Review
- Turks Head

"Eyes for All Ears: Eleven Eyes wraps jazz around hip-hop and electronica to throw a nice little party. "

It might not be the first description the band would like attached to its name, but Eleven Eyes is a party band. The Eugene sextet (which sometimes morphs into a septet) isn’t a party band in the vein of booty shaking or “Brown Eyed Girl” covers, but they can throw a good party.
This is probably why the band is booked (or was booked depending on when you’re reading this) for a New Year’s Eve show at the legendary Eugene watering hole and music venue, Sam Bond’s Garage. And this is also why they rocked the town’s historic McDonald Theater (along with fellow Eugene band Reeble Jar) on Halloween.

Eleven Eyes, not unlike other Eugene bands, has roots in the University of Oregon music program, where Tim McLaughlin earned the classical training he employs on the trumpet, keys, sampler, percussion and effects. The band has morphed over the years, straying from its jazz roots to become what might best be described as a cluster-F-word of jazz-fusion, electronic, hip-hop and world music. Sometimes Eleven Eyes is one of those things, but mostly, it’s all of them all at once.

“We’ve always been pretty chameleon-esque. We started off playing more jazz clubs, but now we’re on the road more and it expanded our sound,” says McLaughlin during a post-Christmas phone call.

McLaughlin, as stated before, is a classically trained jazz musician, so it’s somewhat of a surprise that he uses so many effects, samples and other bells and whistles in his music – even if he is a balls-out trumpeter. But McLaughlin seems able to reconcile this divergence from his musical training.

“You know what? I graduated. I’m done with the requirements. They don’t teach you how to make your career happen, so I guess it doesn’t bother me,” McLaughlin says with a laugh.

But this process of expanding its sound beyond jazz has made Eleven Eyes adaptable and able to fit on a number of bills. With Monk Metz (who will be with the band for the Bend show) providing rhymes, the band can, and has, fit nicely on a hip-hop bill. And with the slightly corny named Turntable Enabler on the ones and twos, Eleven Eyes can play a set during a mostly electronic music show (as they did as last summer’s Emrg+N+See festival near Salem) and sound like they should be there. And should they want to get back to their roots, they can always head back to the jazz clubs. The Bendites who traveled south in early October to Summer Lake for the Outback Music Festival got a taste of the band’s versatility with a show that one local musician called a “funky good time.” Again, these guys can make a party happen.

McLaughlin lists Miles Davis, a fellow trumpeter known for reinventing himself, as one of the influences that has led him and his band to keep the door of innovation wide open.

“You can learn a lot by paying attention to Miles Davis whose career changed generation to generation. I feel like I’m a musician that needs to keep learning and keep my brain working. There’s just so much stuff to pull from, especially now that you have access to so much music with MySpace and things like that,” McLaughlin says.

In 2009, Eleven Eyes is planning to release (most likely in mid-spring) a new album of songs they recently finished up recording. Also, with a surprising recent influx of record sales in Japan, McLaughlin says they’re looking into the possibility of heading across the Pacific for a tour.

Wait, Japanese people like parties, right? - Mike Bookey - The Source Weekly

"Eleven Eyes on the Future"

Eleven Eyes on the future

A refocused Eleven Eyes will take the stage at 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, at Squirrel’s Tavern in Corvallis. (Contributed photo)

CORVALLIS — Vibrant posters splashed about town tout a “fresh new lineup” for Eugene’s Eleven Eyes. But according to trumpet man/bandleader Tim McLaughlin, it’s more than a pair of new faces: it’s a fresh perspective, too.
“I have a rather large palette to draw from now,” he says. “It’s a big change for us. We hear things a lot differently — it’s really cool.”

The core foundation of McLaughlin, saxophonist Matt Calkins and bassist Dave Trenkel remains intact, with Monk Metz spicing the landscape with his usual dexterous verbosity. McLaughlin now juggles trumpet with guitar, replacing Mike Pardew. Disco Organica’s Ben Scharf slides into the keyboard position, relieving his bandmates of the duty. Todd Belcher, who moved from Boise, Idaho, to Eugene over the summer looking to make some noise, assumes the drum spot vacated by Sam Berrett. There’s also an abundance of sonic manipulations that further the group’s status as explorers willing to bend time and pillage space to lock a fat groove down.

“We’ve moved into more electronic and loop-based sounds,” McLaughlin explains, “drone-y, ambient textures, like Tortoise. There are so many possibilities. You can take one sound and turn it into 100, and it doesn’t take a whole lot of tweaking. But the trick is to use them sparingly, like any other instrument.”
Evolution is vital to any artistry, and Eleven Eyes has been a massive canvas, a vibrant swirl of endless adventure, since 2002, when McLaughlin formed what became the sextet for his senior trumpet recital at the University of Oregon. The McLaughlin/Calkins/Trenkel nucleus was already in place, bolstered by guitarist Mark France, drummer Kevin Congleton and J.D. Monroe, a.k.a. the Turntable Enabler, who complemented the funk-charged jazz with deft stutters of samples and scratches. Rather than interpret an existing work, McLaughlin unspooled his own opus, an intricate 30-minute tapestry of suites and solos. (For a taste, check out “Overdrawn” and “052402” — the date of the recital — from the Eyes’ 2003 debut, “Depth Perception.”)

Gigs came quickly and the band took off with a speed its founder still finds startling. France and Congleton were soon replaced by Pardew and Steve Weems, respectively (Berrett took Weems’ place in March 2007), and within a year, Eleven Eyes had a record ready for loving ears. Six years later, “Perception” still exudes an inventive confidence: horns and woodwinds smolder and smoke, guitars and drums gambol and strut, and Monroe chops wax with a devilish zeal, yet never seems intrusive. On 2005’s “Scope,” the band added Monk Metz, whose dizzying free-form wordplay matched his cohorts’ virtuosity and versatility, two traits that remain integral to the Eleven Eyes philosophy, even if the direction and personnel have changed somewhat.

“I remember a quote from an old history class, from Rembrandt, about the intensity being within the restraint,” McLaughlin says. “Some bands push it the whole night, which is fine, but it means you can’t take advantage of the subtle nuances. That’s been part of my vision: to explore the dynamic range and build from there. It’s not easy to pull the reins on people when they’re rarin’ to go, but there’s something great in restraint. It creates an awesome intensity. I’ve been incorporating that into my writing as of late.” (The funk’s still served as well, offering a diverse atmosphere for audiences “whether they want to dance or just kick back and enjoy.”)

True to its perpetual motion, the Eyes continue to add to their ever-growing set list. Before the lineup change, the group recorded a full album at Gung Ho Studio in Eugene; only editing and mastering remain to be completed. (“It’s just a matter of time,” McLaughlin says.) As it happens, they’ve managed to amass yet another album’s worth of material in the interim. Meanwhile, they’re excited to return to Corvallis for the first time since the spring to unveil their new sonic threads.
“That’s our home base,” McLaughlin says. “It’s not an official new lineup until we’ve played Squirrel’s.”

Posted in Entertainment on Thursday, December 3, 2009 8:15 pm Updated: 5:47 pm. - Corvallis Gazette Times



"Comprised of a unique and danceable blend of trumpets soaring like Donald Byrd on Kofi and Coltrane-ian saxophones working their magic in front of a funky drum and bass rhythm section. Eugene-based Eleven Eyes deliver an adventurous CD that only makes you wonder how great these guys must be live. Turntables weave and scratch while loops, samples, and rapping open up new vistas left and right." (www.owlmag.com)

"Since it’s first breadth as a band, Eugene sextet Eleven Eyes has grown out of a single genre, preferring to dress up its jazz frame in a range of styles. Up-tempo funk, electronica and Afrobeat pops out of the group’s new disc, “Scope,” with more verve than 2003’s Depth Perception. The turntable is featured more prominently and the horns burn hotter, keeping the jazz faithful happy while drawing in those that wouldn’t think a jazz show involves dancing." (The Oregonian A&E)

Depth Perception

"Infused with vocal clips and political intrigue, Depth Perception by Eleven Eyes is a voyage of acid discovery. This is music for now with rhythms of the streets, melodies of youth and messages for the masses." (JazzReview.com)

"Eleven Eyes’ sound is funk updated for 2003." (The Oregonian)

Eleven Eyes’ music has been featured on numerous college and public radio stations all over the US. In addition, many tunes have play on internet radio stations all over the world, as well podcasts, commercials, and documentary soundtracks.



Eleven Eyes has become a musicical institution throughout the west coast and has been performing for almost 8 years. A brand new lineup which includes Merlin Showalter (drums) and Dorian Crow (upright bass) has helped move the Eyes in a completly new direction and sound. A heavy focus on groove and dance music from many different genres define their Funkadelic Afrobeat Dub Nu-Jazz sound! Eleven Eyes are on the brink of releasing their 3rd album, due in the summer of ‘10. Stay close for more info...

"Not since the Cherry Poppin' Daddies and Floater has such as exciting, young, talented and unique band emerged from Oregon's fertile Willamette Valley. Eleven Eyes is a neo-psychedelic jazz septet with an excess of instrumental aptitude and creative sense." (The Source; Bend, OR)

"It's impossible to categorize Eugene's Eleven Eyes. Like Critters Buggin, the sextet mixes free-form jazz with modern grooves, creating a dizzying and intoxicating blend of music that will tickle your brain while it moves your tush. Percussion, horns, keyboards, samples, bass, guitar and various embellishments collide rather cosmically, making for a genuinely unique auditory experience that should be experienced in the flesh." (Portland Tribune)

The Eyes have been feature artists at music festivals such as Oregon Country Fair, Emerg+N+See Music Fest, Summer Meltdown, Reggae on the Mountain Music Festival, Gene Harris Jazz Fest, Eugene Celebration, Jazz at Newport, Bite of Seattle, Fremont Fair, Corvallis Fall Festival & the Salem Art Fair.

Eleven Eyes has also gained a loyal hometown following and received the 2005 and 2006 WOW Hall award for favorite local band! Plus, Tim came in as a finalist in 2005 and 2006 as best instrumentalist (next to Dick Dale, Tony Furtado, Steve Kimock and Buckethead). This is all in addition to the 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 Eugene Weekly award for best jazz band! Adding to their acclaim, Eleven Eyes was selected as the runner up in the national 2008 Relix Jam-off competion.

"The Eyes have it, again. It doesn't take special spectacles to see — make that hear — why Eleven Eyes has appeared in this category for the past two years. (Best of Eugene didn't have this category in 2004, or they might have turned up then, too.) There's nothing traditional about this band's approach; they take the path less traveled through a strange soundscape intersected by jazz, fusion, funk, hip-hop, jam, improv and found noises." (Eugene Weekly)

‘‘Eleven Eyes offers an instantly accessible brand of jazz, one that bobs with funk and tinges of bossa nova. Captured on two albums, "Depth Perception" and "Scope," the group mixes turntablism and other modern electronic instrumentation with more traditional jazz elements from trumpeter Tim McLaughlin and saxophonist Matt Calkins. The result is a trip through the experimental jazz spectrum, keeping within parameters that mainstream audiences can appreciate." (Oregonian A&E)