12 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Whether you categorize Jim Campilongo as a jazz artist, an alt-country explorer, or perhaps simply an exceptional guitarist who blurs boundaries, there’s no denying that he and his Fender Telecaster were made for each other. This collection of mostly instrumental tunes spans the range of rock, country, and classic jazz, with Campilongo’s finger work not so much ablaze with speed as with stunning dexterity and inventiveness. While “Monkey In a Movie” has a glinting rock edge, “Hamster Wheel” nods to ‘60s psych-blues and “Mr. and Mrs. Mouse” is torn between surf and spaghetti-western twang, most of the album simmers with a jazzier flavor. There’s a smoky nightclub vibe on both “Pepper” and the favorite standard “Cry Me a River” (one version here with Norah Jones on vocals), a dash of art-skronk playfulness on “Menace” and “Heaven Is Creepy,” and the spirit of Django Reinhardt at work on “The Prettiest Girl In New York.” Campilongo plays with unfettered joy, and listening is an equally blissful experience.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Whether you categorize Jim Campilongo as a jazz artist, an alt-country explorer, or perhaps simply an exceptional guitarist who blurs boundaries, there’s no denying that he and his Fender Telecaster were made for each other. This collection of mostly instrumental tunes spans the range of rock, country, and classic jazz, with Campilongo’s finger work not so much ablaze with speed as with stunning dexterity and inventiveness. While “Monkey In a Movie” has a glinting rock edge, “Hamster Wheel” nods to ‘60s psych-blues and “Mr. and Mrs. Mouse” is torn between surf and spaghetti-western twang, most of the album simmers with a jazzier flavor. There’s a smoky nightclub vibe on both “Pepper” and the favorite standard “Cry Me a River” (one version here with Norah Jones on vocals), a dash of art-skronk playfulness on “Menace” and “Heaven Is Creepy,” and the spirit of Django Reinhardt at work on “The Prettiest Girl In New York.” Campilongo plays with unfettered joy, and listening is an equally blissful experience.

TITLE TIME
2:36
2:37
5:02
5:29
2:54
2:31
2:17
3:13
3:58
2:18
3:05
4:45

About Jim Campilongo

Jim Campilongo was born and raised in San Francisco and began playing guitar in the mid-'70s, buying his first guitar with Green Stamps. His first teacher exposed him to a wide variety of music, but it was hearing Roy Buchanan that convinced him to make a living as a guitarist. By the early '90s, Campilongo was taking guitar students, in addition to playing with a variety of groups in a variety of styles. In 1990, one of those students gave him a 1959 Telecaster in exchange for some bass lessons and it quickly became Campilongo's signature.

"Playing that '59 Tele changed everything for me. It was like it told me to get serious.” Around 1993, Campilongo formed the 10 Gallon Cats with steel guitarist Joe Goldmark. They released their debut album of Speedy West/Jimmy Bryant-inspired instrumentals in 1996 and ultimately recorded three albums as a band. Campilongo's first solo album came in 1998; the critically acclaimed Table for One. After a live recording in 2000, Campilongo left San Francisco for New York City in 2002.

There he formed his new Electric Trio as well as the Little Willies with Norah Jones. Since 2005, Campilongo's Electric Trio has had a Monday night residency at New York's Living Room, where he as been joined on-stage by the likes of Charlie Hunter, Norah Jones, Martha Wainwright, and Nels Cline. In 2010, Campilongo released Orange, his most wide-ranging effort to date.

It was produced by Anton Fier, whose resurrected Golden Palominos have also featured Campilongo.

That same year, Campilongo was honored by Fender when their custom shop began producing a Campilongo signature Telecaster. In early 2014, he released Dream Dictionary with his new trio of Chris Morrisey (bass) and Josh Dion (drums). In addition to playing, Campilongo still teaches and is also a contributing editor for Guitar Player Magazine. ~ Sean Westergaard

Top Songs by Jim Campilongo

Top Albums by Jim Campilongo

Listeners Also Played