reggae reviews

Chad Scott, formerly known as Shaka Buku, got his old stage moniker from a Japanese term used by Buddhists, which loosely translates to the goal of his music: “to remove suffering and bring happiness to all people by awakening them to their inherent greatness.”

While such a lofty goal might prove daunting to most, Chad attacks it with a single-minded fervor that can’t help but be at least a little infectious. And his music is similarly catchy. As the title of this his second album (after 2000’s Good Vibrations) indicates, it is a fusion of styles; his major musical influences are stated as being Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, and Led Zeppelin.

Certainly no one will ever fully successfully combine the legendary greatness of these acts into one record, but Reggae Rock Hop takes a bold stab at it. While some of the tunes are fairly straightforward reggae (“Master of My Mind,” “What a Day,” “Wise Man Arise”), it would be a stretch to label some reggae at all (the Barenaked Ladies-like “Sunday Sunday Monday” or the light funk of “Heart of a Buddha”), while most are pop/rock/jazz/funk fusions incorporating reggae elements.

Although I admit that such an amalgam of sounds is not something I gravitate toward, the songwriting is so darn catchy and the music has just enough bite to keep you intrigued…..I think the all-encompassing sound suits the artist’s message of universality.

Basically, if this fusion of genres interests you, then you’ll probably like it; if not, then it might have to grow on you. Reggae Rock Hop is music for the masses in the best sense of the phrase, a buoyant set that succeeds in grabbing your attention ­ a critical step when trying to convey a message. Check it out at”

-Mark Harris