Perpetual Motion
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Perpetual Motion

Denver, Colorado, United States | INDIE | AFM

Denver, Colorado, United States | INDIE | AFM
Band Jazz Acoustic


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Concert features genre-spanning sound"

By Peter Jones
What do you get when you cross a guitarist who can't write lyrics with a violinist who can't sing?

Instrumentals, hopefully.

"We focus on our strengths," violinist Josie Quick laughed.

She and husband Tom Carleno are the nucleus of Perpetual Motion. The Denver band's self-described style is "dynamic acoustic jazz, combining blues, rock, Latin and more."

"More," in this case, spans bluegrass to surf music.

"When people ask me what kind of music we play, I just say good," Quick said. "It's hard to put a label on it."

Perpetual Motion brings its genre-spanning sound to the Lone Tree Public Library March 13 for a free concert.

It was not for lack of trying that Perpetual Motion gave up on putting words to its music. The couple has tried tapping into its love for Beatles lyrics,but the results were uniformly disappointing - more "moon in June" than "Here Comes the Sun." Voices were not their best instruments either, they admit.

The couple has, however, incorporated lyrical melodies and a kind of vocal phrasing into their music. Carleno-Quick compositions are not so much instrumentals, they say, but songs without words.

"Surfing on Cloud Nine" is described in CD liner notes as "a song about the joy of being alive." That may surprise listeners who assumed that instrumentals were not "about" anything.

"We make the effort to make the melodies hummable. When I'm playing, I try to think vocally. I think where the breath would be if we had a singer," Quick explained.

Perpetual Motion's material ranges from the American folk roots in "The Wyoming Blues" to the scat-jazz of Wheels are Turning. "Surf 'n Turf" honors surf guitar king Dick Dale.

Despite appearances to the contrary, the eclectic husband and wife team was not always this comfortable in its musical skin.

Quick was originally a "classical music nerd" who was growing steadily tired of playing note-for-note Beethoven in school assemblies. Her epiphany came from an unlikely source, a fiddle-based, southern-rock hit by the Doobie Brothers.

"I was just enthralled by "Black Water," she said. "I realized I could play any style I wanted to on the violin."

By the late 1980s, she was teaching the same lesson in a Denver music store, where Carleno happened to teach guitar down the hall.

Before long, the frustrated rock musician was smitten by his female colleague, His opening line had more truth than most, however.

"I've written some music. I'd like to hear what it would sound like with a violin," Quick can remember him saying to her one day. "He thought he was so smooth, as cheesy as it was."

A love connection was not all that gelled. Quick's violin actually did sound pretty good with Carleno's jazzy material.

Perpetual Motion was ready to move.

Although the band has seen as revolving door of personnel over the years, including two veterans of Boulder County's Wind Machine, the married couple has always been the stable calm in the group.

Three or four can be a crowd sometimes, anyway.

"It'll be just the two of us at the library," Quick said.

Perpetual Motion will perform March 13, 2 p.m. The Lone Tree Public Library is located at 8827 Lone Tree Parkway. The concert is free, but reservations are required. Call 303-799-4446. - Voice, March 10, 2005

"Perpetual Motion Catsask Music"

Wonderfully refreshing! When I read the bio I was thinking to myself how can a group like this get my toe's tapping. Coming from a predominantly 4 count base Rock or R&B sound myself, I've yet to be truly moved to foot tapping with a musical genre of this nature. Having said that, I stand truly corrected. These Perpetual Motion cats have definitely found themselves a niche sound. With only 3 tracks to hit me with, they had me at the first sound bite. Moving, emotional and powerfully articulate (without lyrics) the musical skills displayed are miles above average and the melodies truly emotive. An inspiring display that demonstrates the true nature of musical sounds. Blending nature with music is not a new concept, but to get it together with such grace is a difficult task. Bravo PM!Reviewer: Duss Rodgers of Catsask Music - Catsask Music Magazine

"Violin Summit lets jazz fiddlers take a bow"

Contributed by: John Zwick, on 10/21/2008

Because the piano, trumpet, double bass and saxophone hog all the glory, the violin doesn't get all the love it deserves for its place in jazz. Plenty of fans, challenged to name some of the greats, would come up with a list you could count on one hand. And there's a pretty good chance it would include players from The Violin Summit. The 1966 jazz concert in Switzerland featured luminaries Stephane Grappelli, Jean-Luc Ponty, Stuff Smith and Svend Asmussen.

So it might seem not a little audacious to hitch oneself to that legacy, as Perpetual Motion violinist Josie Quick did when she put together the first Rocky Mountain Violin Summit in October of 2007. Lucky for her (and us), then, that she put together a band with unassailable credentials. The returning lineup of Quick, Julia Hays and Lionel Young, as well as last-minute addition Kailin Yong have backgrounds to put even ambitious musical name-droppers to shame, and Oct. 18, at Swallow Hill, 71 E. Yale Ave., they left no doubt as to why.

As spotlights flashed off instruments and reflections danced across the hall like will o' the wisps, Quick and company played a dynamite, genre-hopping set that took on straight-ahead jazz, the gypsy jazz that made Grappelli famous, bossa nova, blues and more.

It was a mix well suited to the musicians' diverse backgrounds. Quick, in fact, picked them in part for their different musical personalities.

"I just knew that we all had different styles," she said, "and I thought that we would complement each other well. We're all classically trained. And we all decided that we didn't like the orchestra classical root and we all went off on our own thing."

For Quick, that "own thing" was Denver band Perpetual Motion, ever the outlet for her eclectic leanings. Young leads his own blues band, Hays has a jazz and blues background and Yong, in addition to moonlighting on solo work, plays with folky, jazzy outfit Boulder Acoustic Society.

Out of a uniformly good set, stellar highlights included Young's electric blues number, in which he plucked away at his tiny violin like any other guitar, and soloed with the bow. Yong kept the crowd rapt during a transcendent improvisational number, and the whole band, including guitarist Tom Carleno, drummer Ed Contreras and bassist Mary Stribling, got a chance to shine during Quick's tribute to Grappelli, "Stephanology," which she says will appear on a Perpetual Motion album due in spring of 2009.

That's not the only thing in Quick's future, though. "I'm being asked if (the summit) was an annual thing, and I'm not sure yet, but it was just so much fun. I'm thinking I'll try to find other places to do it. Maybe once a year or every couple of months." - Rocky Mountain News & Denver Post

"Perpetual Motion"

What a beautiful and inspired record this is. And, it’s holiday tunes no less. Making an album of traditional Christmas songs is tricky because the songs are sooooo overplayed during December, and because tasteful can turn to tacky in the blink of an eye.

Perpetual Motion’s holiday release brings high quality musicianship and creative instrumental arranging (very important on a record such as this) to standards such as "Joy to the World," "Carol of the Bells," and "Do You Hear What I Hear." Also included is the title track by Vince Guaraldi and some well-placed original tunes like "Northern Lights" and "Nova."

Perpetual Motion usually records instrumental records that fit in well with mellow jazz or New Age listeners. The founding duo of Perpetual Motion, guitarist Tom Carleno and violinist Josie Quick have such huge musical ears, however, that the music stays fresh and accessible to any "type" of fan with high musical standards. Even on a Christmas CD, the duo does not disappoint.

Surprise your family by putting on a CD filled with the holiday spirit during dinner this year. Tell them it’s a local band. How cool is that?

Judy B. - GoGo Magazine, January 21, 2002

"Perpetual Motion"

by Judy Brady

The phrase "perpetual motion" conjures up images of constant
change, innovation and movement--like an interactive Energizer
bunny, meeting every new challenge with a step forward, a new
idea and an unflagging energy. 

Colorado musicians Tom Carleno and Josie Quick named their band
Perpetual Motion, making the first of many bold statements
regarding their instrumental music. In the twelve years since the
two got together, Carleno and Quick have utilized a gamut of
influences, tastes and musical resources to form an unusual alliance
in the expanding Colorado music scene. 

Sometimes their music sounds like pop, or maybe classical. No, it’s
blues, maybe classic rock, or jazz. We should know by now that the
easier a band is to categorize, the crappier the music. But Quick and
Carleno bring out the beauty of acoustic music without lulling us to
sleep. Their selection of tunes, Carleno’s adept arrangements and
their energetic stage presence are always entertaining. 

Unusual, but certainly the backbone of the group’s sound, is
Quick’s violin. It’s not the symphony style we know from
Beethoven records and diamond commercials, but a much more raw
and emotional tone amplified to complement Carleno’s guitar. 

Their versatility makes the band great for intimate settings but can
transfer well to larger venues. And although their artistry and love
of the music are apparent as a duo, they have released three albums
featuring a number of stellar local musicians.

Perpetual Motion’s appeal reaches a wide audience through the
tasteful use of great original pieces and an odd assortment of
cover-tune arrangements. Drawing from songs on their 1997 release,
Surfing on Cloud Nine, the band can easily shift to a fabulous
rendition of "Josie" from Steely Dan or The Beatles’s "Dear
Prudence." And it all seems to work. 

At a time when many musicians think that louder, faster and more
aggressive is better, the music fan needs a moment to listen to
quality music that is not only artistic in its nature, but introspective
and inspiring. Carleno and Quick bring the sort of sensitivity to
their music that reveals professional skill and training along with a
warm chemistry extending past the microphones–always different,
and always moving. - Profilin'  from the Rocky Mountain Bullhorn June 2001

"Meet Perpetual Motion"

Sitting down to dinner in a restaurant with guitarist Tom Carleno and violinist Josie Quick was like meeting old friends that somehow you had never really met. Josie, with her warm engaging smile, and Tom with his attentive but subtle nature instantly made me feel quite at home. This warmth and sincerity that one experiences when meeting them translates into their musical style, which is difficult at best to categorize. Kate Lavin, of the Daily Staff Writer, states that their compositions are "a unique style of original music." Linda Gruno, of Backbeat, indicates that their music showcases "the trio's emotion, interplay, and sensuality." While Kevin Duke, of Denver Live, feels that the music is both "mesmerizing" and "peacefully ambient."

The musical style of Perpetual Motion is one that shows great depth in the ability to develop and perform several genres of music harmoniously. Josie feels that it was her Classical chamber experience that prepared her for the kind of music that she and Tom create. She describes their musical sound as "counter point" or a "musical conversation" that is going on between the instruments. Josie feels that what makes their music unique is this musical conversation that is similar to what she experienced in her string quartet work, rather than the stringency of individualized parts that are expressed through rock music. For Josie "counter point" between the instruments "is the epitome of joy. I just love the way [it sounds] when you have two voices, three voices, intertwining and talking to each other." The melody is described as "melodic fragments" where Tom plays keynotes on his guitar that Josie echoes on her violin. The point of their style is to play in harmony with the other musicians, complementing each other's sound. 

Tom, who is the composer for the group, describes his composition style as hearing the whole composition in his head before he starts to write. He admitted that he had to pay more attention to the composing when he and Josie first started playing together. "I had to start thinking about how I could put another voice to this story. That was when I first started writing out her parts." Josie laughs about the time when Tom asked her if she could play a tenth on the violin "A tenth on the violin is. ..a virtuosic interval," Josie explains. "Yeah, I can play tenths", she admits telling Tom. Then she adds, "He throws this thing at me that is not just parallel tenths but [also a piece] which goes from octaves to ninths," This is no easy task for a violinist. It was at that point that the two began to develop a way that they could each write their own parts while still remaining in harmony with each other. Both Tom and Josie feel that this is one of the most interesting aspects of their musical relationship. "Tom will start playing melodies and I will begin to hear my own part in my head," Josie told me. Eventually, the two join each other downstairs, where Tom practices and composes, and the musical piece is jointly written. Josie admits that she is now starting to compose her own music for the band but has not yet recorded her first song for release. 

Other rotating members of the band also join the duo by writing their own parts into the harmony. Michael Olson, current acoustic bass player for the band, begins his part of the process after receiving a chart of the musical notes from Tom. These notes are "not written in stone," states Michael, "If I have a better idea, I am to let them know." At first this may appear as no great challenge; however, Michael assures me that the challenge is to "still fulfil the role of the bass player (while finding) something unique" to bring to the musical conversation. In addition, Michael must strive to create a separate melody from the other instruments. 

The unique qualities of sound and writing style that characterize Perpetual Motion can be attributed, in part, to the musical influences of Josie Quick. When I asked Josie who her musical influences were I expected her response to be Franz Schubert, or George Frederic Handel; but instead she told me that one of her musical influences was the rock group Heart, while another was violinist Stephane Grappeli. I sat there thinking how diversely opposite these two musical influences were; yet her explanation reflected both the diversity and unity in her own music with Tom. Josie's fascination with Heart stems from the fact that they were two women "who were good musicians, not just eye candy." For Josie, Grappeli had a "clean, precise, very musical and melodic sound." And, perhaps, it is in these two extremes that we find the best way to describe the sound that is Perpetual Motion -it is simply the transformation of emotional experiences into a musical conversation that is clean and precise and completely Perpetual Motion.  - Riff magazine

"Eclectic ensemble blends unlikely instruments, jazz"

    Anyone who has ever gone out on a limb to get a date has to appreciate the sheer guts Tom Carleno of Perpetual Motion had when he used his own cheesy pickup line on violinist Josie Quick more than 10 years ago. Carleno, an acoustic guitarist, had played in several bands over the years. He was in-between groups when he met Quick at a Denver-area music store where they both taught private music lessons. The conducting casanova made a bold move in hopes of furthering both his musical career and his social life.

     Your typical bar hound probably would have winked at Quick before blurting out, "Hey baby, I think we could make beautiful music together." Luckily for Quick, Carleno was a little more tactful, and instead opted for "I have some songs I've written. Would you like to get together sometime and play them?"

     Flattered, and inspired by Carleno's obvious sincerity about his craft, Quick agreed to break away from her classical training and move toward a longtime interest of hers, jazz violin.

      Up until she met Carleno, Quick had trouble playing with traditional jazz groups because, before the onset of electric violins and violin pickups, the sound of her instrument got drowned out of the mix. Once Carleno hooked his own strings up to an amp, the pair wailed away, creating perfect balance of harmonies. The folk-classical compromise can be heard on Perpetual Motion's first CD, "Ready, Willing and Able."

      The duo played together for three or four years before setting foot in the studio, at which time Carleno and Quick decided it was time for a rhythm section. Susan Mikulich and Chad Johnson joined the group for three of the covers, and before long the quartet was a regular fixture at coffee houses like Java Creek in the Cherry Creek neighborhood.

      "Our songs work as both duets and as a full band," Carleno said. "There is a lot more musical energy as a full band."

      Johnson became known as a Jack of all trades around Denver, using his percussion skills to play anything from glass bottles to furniture to horseshoes. Mikulich was a pro on the bass. The original duo used the new, full sound to expand into blues, swing and bluegrass.

      Shortly after the band recorded its second album, "Surfing on Cloud Nine," Johnson left the group and drummer Rob Chamberlin took his place. Around the same time, Michael Olson of Wind Machine took over as bassist. Coincidentally, Wind Machine's Steve Mesple was an early mentor for Carleno.

      The quartet spends a lot of time creating a unique style of original music that they perform mostly at summer music festivals and jazz nightclubs. Most recently the band played at the Sunday night concert series, City Park Jazz, in Denver.

     "We try to let audiences know that we're more than just a jazz band," Carleno said. "We don't like to pigeonhole out-selves into one category."

      The band is largely thought of as a jazz band because of their improvisational talents. Most of Perpetual Motion's songs allow for an improvisational solo by any given player.

      Traditionally, Carleno starts the composition of all of Perpetual Motion's songs. Once he has mapped out the guitar angle, he plays it for other members of the band, who improvise counter melodies.

      "Before I was mostly in cover bands," Carleno said. "Josie and I are more professional than the bands I played with in the past. Doing original material also keeps me really motivated to make the band work. Doing my own songs gives me a personal drive to make this a success."

      Perpetual Motion is currently spending time in the studio recording its third CD. The album should be released in time for the holiday season. - Vail Daily

"Perpetual Motion- String Theory"

Perpetual Motion's newest release, String Theory, forges new ground in what they call the "Acoustic World Fusion" genre. Basically they've taken jazz, blues and rock tunes and play them acoustically with a latin groove. Each original song is based around Josie Quick's vibrant violin and the masterful guitar work of Tom Carleno. Sure there's percussion and bass in there, too, but make no mistake this is about the violin and guitar. The melodies that might otherwise be handled by a vocalist are taken to new places by Quick's violin. While this act is primarily a jazz based band, they are not beyond applying their considerable skills to rock, blues, or anything else that strikes their fancy. This is jazz for those of us who aren't jazz snobs. "Jungle Fever" has a cool latin/tribal feel thanks to the percussion. The lone cover on the CD is "Josie" from Steely Dan, which takes on a new character when played on violin and guitar. We love it when a violin is used in a rock song. "Terminal Velocity" also rocks pretty good. "Pasion de la Luna" emphasizes Carleno's guitar with a Spanish/flamenco style."Big Red Blues" shows that blues is well within their grasp. The CD has excellent production qualities. They clearly spent some time in the studio making sure this came out right.
Buy this CD if you like acoustic/instrumental music.
For more info please visit: -

"Violinist Sidelined, Making a Comeback"

Things were moving along for veteran jazz duo Perpetual Motion with plans underway to record their fifth CD when violinist Josie Quick was sidelined with lupus, an autoimmune disease affecting joints and other tissue.

Today, through the care of a great doctor and alternative therapies, Quick is back playing again. Her jazz ensemble, Perpetual Motion, is celebrating with a comeback concert on Saturday, December 19 at 8:00 pm at the Swallow Hill Music Association, 71 East Yale Avenue in Denver. Phone 303-777-1003 for tickets or visit

Studio time had already been scheduled to begin recording Swing Set, a collection of original and vintage gypsy jazz tunes when violinist Josie Quick began to suspect the pain in her hands was more than overuse injuries. Despite her difficulty the CD was completed with plenty of warming up, stretches, and rests between takes.

At this point it became obvious that the problem was more than tendinitis, something was wrong. Josie made an appointment with a rheumatologist, suspecting that she had rheumatoid arthritis. A diagnosis was made, and treatment was underway. But things worsened to a point where any movement required a great deal of effort and produced a lot of pain. The arthritis medication wasn’t working, and Quick’s health was going downhill.

Plans had been made for a CD release concert, and a few follow-up gigs had been scheduled to start promoting the album. The band went on with the show, releasing Swing Set in March of 2009.

Things took a turn for the worse, and Quick ended up in the ER with pneumonia and pleurisy. The shortness of breath continued, after more x-rays showed that the pleurisy was hanging on Quick’s doctor began to question his original diagnosis.

It was the last thing Quick expected. She has lupus.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease where the autoimmune system attacks tissue. Any tissue is vulnerable, including organs.

“At first I thought it was a death sentence, then I thought it was a life sentence. All this time I’d been glad that at least it wasn’t lupus, I’d tested negative for it. I’d heard only of people having an awful time with the disease, and I didn’t want that. I knew musicians with RA, and they managed well”.

By the time the diagnosis was changed Quick had lost most of her previously active lifestyle. The pain and fatigue was much like Fibro Myalgia, but accompanied by swelling of the joints. Even a trip to the grocery store was too much effort.

Throughout her ordeal she had one priority, to play her violin. Some days all she could do was warm up, moving each finger one at a time until the joints loosened, and then she was too tired to continue. The days Quick didn’t practice made the next exponentially harder, and it became apparent that she needed to use it, or lose it.

A year later Quick is well on her way to recovery. Through the use of medication, acupuncture, meditation, and a change in diet she is managing her symptoms and is eager to get back onstage. Her jazz duo, Perpetual Motion, is planning a comeback concert to celebrate her return to the Denver music scene on Saturday, December 19 at 8 pm at Swallow Hill Music Association.

Listen to Perpetual Motion’s music at and
- Denver Post


Swing Set, 2009
String Theory, 2006
Christmas Time is Here, 2000
Surfing on Cloud Nine, 1997
Ready, Willing, and Able, 1993

"Child's Play" from Surfing on Cloud Nine won Best Instrumental in the 2010 Songdoor International Songwriting Competition.

"Spring Fever" from String Theory has been chosen for presents Artist Listing on LocalMusiCafe

Five songs, "Spring Fever", "Diver's Dream", "Por Causa de Voce", "Terminal Velocity", and Double Expresso" were chosen for Acoustic Fuel Digital Compilation

"Joy To The World and "Christmas Time Is Here" were chosen for Crescent Holiday Compilation

"Double Expresso" from String Theory has been chosen for the te! Music Presents Jam OUTLOUD compilation CD.

Tom Carleno's composition "Por Causa de Voce" won Honorable Mention in the 2007 Unisong International Song Competition, jazz category

"Dos Besos" from 'the inner buddha project" has been used for a compilation for Hear Music (Starbuck's).

"Silent Night" and "Joy to the World" from Christmas Time is Here have been used on compilation CDs for Royce Music Distribution.



Colorado’s very own Perpetual Motion is a unique group of artists of outstanding musicianship. Collectively, they live up to the band’s fluid and energetic name. Perpetual Motion simply moves...and makes you move, as well.

Violinist Josie Quick’s first jazz influence was the Quintette du Hot Club’s violinist Stephane Grappelli. That inspiration carries her improvisations to dizzying heights. Her energy and passion onstage embody the term ‘perpetual motion”.

Tom Carleno’s guitar mastery is evident with his winning First Place in the Song Door International Songwriting Competition.

Bass virtuoso Blake Eberhard expertly lays down the groove. His melodic style gives the band their finesse, and his solos are fantastic!

Rob Chamberlin’s proficiency at the drums is well known through his many years of playing with artists like Lannie Garrett and Tommy Bolin.

Always on the go, Perpetual Motion loves to explore different genres of music with the unique instrumentation of violin and acoustic guitar. Their award winning original music can be heard on their first four CD releases. They have been regulars on the festival circuit since 1990. They’ve appeared at City Park Jazz, Taste Of Colorado, Vail Arts Festival, to name just a few. They’re a favorite for corporate work, adding just the right amount of energy. Clients have included Colorado Rockies, Peter Pan Peanut Butter, DeVry University, Disney, Maytag, and Kodak.

In addition to their original music, Perpetual Motion brings you Perpetual Swing, an exciting show of gypsy and vintage swing jazz. Your toes will be tapping and your fingers will be snapping to favorites like Sweet Georgia Brown, Oh Lady Be Good, All of Me, Satin Doll, and Minor Swing, plus great original gypsy jazz tunes!

Guaranteed to put a smile on your face, gypsy jazz is constantly attracting new fans while continuing to delight music lovers the world over. Gypsy Jazz is a wonderful blend of gypsy harmonies and melodic elements with a swing jazz feel.

Perpetual Motion can fit their instrumentation to your needs. Great for house concerts and other smaller venues, Perpetual Motion performs as a violin and guitar duo. Adding the bass or the full rhythm section pumps the energy even higher!

The first three audio files are quartet, trio, and duo versions of classic swing tunes. The fourth is an original in the style of Django, followed by our award winning original jazz.