Based around the sizzling jazz violin style of Josie Quick, the dynamic instrumental combo Perpetual Motion will take you on a musical journey that can range from bluegrass to swing to rock to Jean-Luc Ponty inspired jazz. Guitarist Tom Carleno pens much of their material in a style reminiscent of Michael Hedges. Bassist Blake Eberhard and drummer Rob Chamberlin complete the quartet. Perpetual Motion’s versatility allows them the luxury of performing as a duo, trio, or full band.
Perpetual Motion began when Tom used a line to try to get a date with Josie. The line was "I have some songs I've written, and I'd like to hear what they would sound like with the violin playing the melody. Would you like to get together sometime and play them?" Well, Josie realized he was trying to get a date, but she also saw that he was sincere about his music. Well, Tom went home and set to work arranging his music with a violin in mind. A rehearsal date was set, and one of the first songs they did was to become the title song on their first CD, READY, WILLING AND ABLE.
Tom had been in a number of rock bands, and they had always met an early demise. He was ready to try a different tactic for getting a band going. In the past, he had always assembled a group of people, and when artistic conflicts arose the band would fold. This time he was going to create a core of two people that could work together, and build from there.
Josie had been wanting to get more into playing jazz violin. The spontaneity of improvisation was intriguing to her. She wanted to break free from the confines of classical repertoire, where everything is played the same way and scrutinized for interpretation. Problem was, there wasn't a lot of opportunity for getting together with other jazz musicians. Her violin was always drowned out by the other instruments, and electric violins and violin pickups hadn't been invented yet.
The time was right for these two to get together. Tom's acoustic guitar was actually drowned out by Josie's violin, which was easily remedied by an amp. Tom was writing music that was influenced by his mentor, Steve Mesple' of Wind Machine. His use of open tunings and fingerstyle guitar gave Josie the inspiration to improvise contrapuntal melodies. At first their music was a combination of folk and classical, which can be heard on their first CD. Songs like "Nova", "Northern Lights," and "In The Mode" (another of the songs from that first rehearsal) show that earlier mellow side.
Their first gig was at the Conifer Country Affaire, an antique and craft fair in Conifer, Colorado on July 15, 1990. They didn't quite have enough music for two sets, so they repeated part of the first one. When they were done, people started asking if they had any tapes for sale. With that kind of encouragement, they began writing more.
Over the years Josie began contributing more to the writing process. Usually Tom begins by experimenting with a new tuning for his guitar. After he comes up with a basic idea, he plays it for Josie, who often contributes ideas by trying to sing what she hears in her head. Through trial and error they get it, and then Josie usually writes her violin melody based on the ideas Tom's part gives her. Sometimes, like on "Gypsy Wind," Tom writes the whole thing. Most songs have an improvised section. An effort is made with each song to give it a name that really fits it. Sometimes songs remain untitled while they wait for the right title to come along. Some songs are inspired by things, like "Make Way for the Mia Express" and "Northern Lights."
In 1992 they went into the studio to record their first CD. Although most of the material was for violin and guitar duo, they wanted to expand the ensemble on some of the songs. Bassist Susan Mikulich and drummer/percussionist Chad Johnson were asked to join them on three of the songs. They enjoyed working with the rhythm section so much that they were asked to become permanent members of the group. Chad joined full time, and they soon became a well known fixture in coffee houses of the Denver area. They played every week at Java Creek, a coffee house in Cherry Creek, and numerous other coffee houses. Chad became known as the drummer who would play anything, including glass bottles, furniture, and horseshoes.
During this time the music they were writing began to show influences from all types of music. Josie was listening to any jazz violinist she could get her hands on, and her playing began to be compared with Stephane Grappelli and Jean Luc-Ponty. They wrote bossas, blues, swing, bluegrass, as well as music with folk influences from around the world. Tom's use of open tunings was always expanding, and he needed to add more guitars to his collection so the audience wasn't always listening to him tuning. He was developing his own style of songwriting, while retaining the influences of the various artists he listens to. One of the easiest influences one can hear is Michael Hedges, but if you listen carefully there's a lot of Al Stewart, Brian May and John Lennon.
The addition of Josie's electric violin made the time seem right to add a bass player to develop these new ideas into a higher energy ensemble. Bassist Matt Deason was asked to join for the recording of their second CD, SURFING ON CLOUD NINE. This recording shows the band's energetic side, with songs such as "Wheels are Turning" and "The Wyoming Blues" showing their rock and roll roots.
Shortly after the release of SURFING ON CLOUD NINE Chad and Matt left the band and drummer Rob Chamberlin joined along with bassist Michael Olson, formerly of Wind Machine. In November 2000, Perpetual Motion's third CD, CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE, was released. The recording featured the bands distinctive arrangements of traditional Christmas songs along with four original pieces, including new versions of "Northern Lights" and "Nova", two songs that appeared on READY, WILLING AND ABLE. 2002 saw another change in the band's lineup as Michael departed to move to Nashville. The search for a new bassist led to Blake Eberhard, another long time veteran of the Colorado music scene, including stints with Wind Machine and Pan Jumbies.
In 2005 the band entered the studio to begin recording their fourth CD. Rob was not able to do the project so drummer/percussionist Christian Teele was brought in for the sessions. Always wanting to try new things, their sound had evolved by now into a more progressive jazz style incorporating fusion, latin, blues and rock. The new CD was titled STRING THEORY and was released in March, 2006. While Josie has always been a co-writer on most of Perpetual Motion's songs, she became a composer in her own right over the last few years and the new album features three of her compositions: "Double Expresso", "Jungle Spirits" and "Toes In The Sand".
2009 saw the release of SWING SET, a CD of jazz standards (plus three originals written by Josie) with a gypsy swing groove. They had been performing standards for years and decided to put out an album of these classic tunes.