There are guitarists, and then there are guitarists’ guitarists. Pierre Benusan is the sort of musician who inspires awe among even other musical luminaries. Leo Kotke admits that, “Pierre’s music gives me the shakes. No other guitarist shares his strange gifts of sophistication, accessibility, and downright joy.” Since his first album, Pres de Paris in 1976, Bensusan has released eight CDs. Intuite is his first release on his own label, Dadgad Music.
Unlike most fingerstyle guitarists, who favor nylon string classical-style guitars, Bensusan plays a steel-stringed 1978 Lowden S22 flat-top acoustic. In the 11 original compositions on Intuite, Bensusan coaxes a remarkable variety of tones and musical textures from this instrument. While some, like “So Long Michael,” have a floating, dreamy quality, others, like “Agadiramadin,” have an almost manic drive. “En Route from Scarborough” displays Bensusan’s melodic inventiveness through his variations on the traditional English theme “Scarborough Fair.” Not only is the music ravishingly beautiful, the sound is its equal. Bensusan’s guitar sounds startlingly natural, with just the perfect amount of natural reverberation.
Pierre Bensusan manages to be both lyrical, quiet, dynamic, and virtuosic all at the same time. No serious lover of solo acoustic guitar music can consider their collection complete without a copy of Intuite.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Dec. ’01 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.