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Jazz Overhaul honors ‘the Seattle sound' in rocking KNKX Studio Session

Jazz Overhaul looks to the past for inspiration – the not-so-distant past when the cold, rainy nights around Puget Sound were pulsing with the sounds of “grunge.” It’s a magic combination that hopes to bring younger music fans to the world of improvised music.

Saxophonist and bandleader Cliff Colón said he’d noticed older jazz standards weren’t resonating with younger audiences, but they could recognize modern melodies even without lyrics.

Once the band members were set, with Jake Sele on keys, Osama Afifi on bass and D'Vonne Lewis on drums, Jazz Overhaul fully embraced the music of the "Seattle sound.”

Many American cities are known for their music: Detroit's Motown soul, New Orleans' second line funk, Washington D.C.'s go-go scene and more. Seattle, for better or worse, is known for the heavy rock music of the late '80s and early '90s

Colón takes lessons from the long history of jazz musicians reworking popular music, like John Coltrane’s version of “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music.

"We’re really fortunate in Seattle that we have our own genre," Colón explained. "So why not cover all those tunes?”

Jazz Overhaul often welcomes special guests ranging from singer Jacqueline Tabor to the brass brothers Thomas and David Marriott, to guitarists R.L. Heyer, Andy Coe and Brian Monroney.

“The guitar players know the songs better than we do,” Colón joked.

There's a long list of quality songs from the Seattle and greater Pacific Northwest’s grunge era, many of which are nostalgic hits for Generation X music lovers. With their musical overhaul, Jazz Overhaul does justice to this era of bands.

If you know the material – the band also performed versions of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” and Alice In Chains’ “Would?” in KNKX’s Studio X – Jazz Overhaul might blow your mind. If you’re less familiar, you can simply enjoy their smart arrangements of powerful, catchy melodies.

Along the way, you might learn something about the history of Northwest rock and the music that made Seattle famous. Check out Jazz Overhaul at Bake’s Place in Bellevue on May 11.


  • Cliff Colón - tenor saxophone
  • Jake Sele - keyboards
  • Osama Afifi - bass
  • D'Vonne Lewis - drums


  1. Would? (Alice in Chains)
  2. Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden)
  3. Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)
Abe grew up in Western Washington, a third generation Seattle/Tacoma kid. It was as a student at Pacific Lutheran University that Abe landed his first job at KNKX, editing and producing audio for news stories. It was a Christmas Day shift no one else wanted that gave Abe his first on-air experience which led to overnights, then Saturday afternoons, and started hosting Evening Jazz in 1998.
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