Pierre Bensusan

OnVividly, Pierre Bensusan defends his title as the all-time king of DADGAD tuning. Throughout this studio album, which also includes one live track, Bensusan’s touch on his signature Lowden is crystal clear and speaks to not only his amazing technique, but also the quality of the production. Over the course of the 14 tracks, he pays tribute to some of his friends and musical heroes, including jazz trumpeter Chet Baker, whom he offers fitting tribute to using subtle harmonics and ringing open strings on “DADGAD Café” without delving into the “cool jazz” genre that Baker was known for. Sticking to a single modal tuning, it can be easy to fall into a rut. But onVividly, Bensusan extends the sound of the tuning by exploring different keys and textures not normally associated with DADGAD. This wouldn’t be the first album I would recommend to someone who’s unfamiliar with Bensusan, but the arrangements stand out as some of his most inventive fretwork.