Pierre Bensusan

Intuite

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For his first all-solo, all-instrumental, all-acoustic album, French fingerstyle guitar virtuoso Pierre Bensusan found himself signed to Favored Nations, a label owned by rock & roll stunt guitarist Steve Vai. It may not be an obvious pairing, but Vai has long been a fan of Bensusan's elegant and pancultural approach to the guitar, and with Intuite he offers Bensusan a warm, resonant ambience in which to stretch out. As you might expect, the compositions refer to any number of guitar traditions -- "Kadourimdou" nods to the blues before veering off into samba rhythms and a wholly unique combination of folk and jazz inflections; "En Route From Scarborough" (dedicated to fellow fingerstyle guitar hero John Renbourn) inverts the melody to "Scarborough Fair" and explores a whole new world of variations on that familiar theme; the sweet and melancholy "So Long Michael" (dedicated to the late Michael Hedges) comes from no single tradition in particular, but is a gentle soul cry inspired by the untimely death of a genius. Like most of Bensusan's work, this album can function as background music, but it would be a shame not to pay attention to the wit of his ideas and the grace of his playing.

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