Keyser Soze showcases hometown talent


June 5 | 9 p.m.
Crystal Bay Casino | Crystal Bay, Nev.

June 27 | 10 p.m.
Vinyl at Hard Rock | Stateline, Nev.

For more than a decade and a half, Keyser Soze has been creating their own brand of jazz-inspired rock and reggae in the heart of Reno, Nev. Despite a few bumps along the road, the sextet shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

After being struck by a drunk driver while riding his Vespa scooter in August 2014, Jammal Tarkington embarked on a long road to recovery including one final surgery coming up in July, but today the singer and sax player is excited to release an album of dub remixes this summer and start work on a new album before embarking on a European tour with the band in the fall.

“Our sound is evolving and this album will have new personality from out other albums,” said Tarkington, who describes the new material as more of a roots-reggae-inspired sound.

The group will record the album with Tom Gordon, who teaches recording studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, and has worked with more than 200 local musicians, as well as a handful of headlining acts including G. Love and Special Sauce, E40 and Mike Love.

“We’re all pretty serious jazz musicians, but the groups is more reggae and rocksteady,” said Tarkington, comparing their new material with past songs that invoke more of a ski and punk rock-inspired sound.

Before Keyser Soze, Tarkington and Rodney Teague, who plays trombone in the group, were playing with another band when they began to write songs for a side project. After recruiting a few more musicians, a new group was born.

The group has made a name for themselves with three full-length albums and they’ve shared the stage with headliners including Michael Franti, The English Beat, The Wailers, Steel Pulse and The Skatalites to name a few, but they remain loyal to their Reno roots.

“I dig what’s been going on with a lot of stuff,” said Tarkington of the evolving scene in Reno.

From long-standing venues such as the Knitting Factory to newer joints such as Cargo and small venues like The Loving Cup and St. James Infirmary, both local and visiting bands have an ever-expanding number of options for showcasing their passions.

Although there aren’t many bands that fall into the same vain of musical genre, the group likes to play with other hometown musicians including the Mark Sexton Band and Elephant Rifle and Tahoe DJ and musician Zeb Early. When he’s not playing with Keyser Soze, he’s been known to moonlight as a DJ, as well. “All vinyl though, no computers,” he said. However, of all the local hot spots Keyser Soze looks forward to playing at the Crystal Bay Casino the most.

“For over a decade, it’s been our home away from home,” said Tarkington, who is impressed the sound in each of the casino’s music venues and grateful for the unwavering support the group has had from Crystal Bay staff from the beginning. Because of the comfortable atmosphere and great sound produced in the building, the group often records their live performances at the casino.

Don’t miss Keyser Soze debut some of their new material as they return to the stage in Crystal Bay on June 5. They also play the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on June 27 before heading into the studio.