Jim Campilongo settles down to record

courtesy photoGuitar great Jim Campilongo has a new album

courtesy photoGuitar great Jim Campilongo has a new album

Last year was a veritable blur for guitarist Jim Campilongo. The Bay Area native — who moved to New York a decade ago, where he initiated a popular Monday night residency at a bar called The Living Room — spent most of 2012 on the road with his Trio (featuring bassist Chris Morrissey and drummer Josh Dion). He toured Canada, the East Coast, Finland, the Czech Republic and made it to Japan twice, where diehard fans followed him everywhere. He dedicated this year to recording. The band’s new “Dream Dictionary” hits stores in January, and it features jazz-bluesy reworkings of Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” and Campilongo’s own “Heaven is Creepy,” plus a skeletal version of Ray Charles’ “Here I Am,” with Norah Jones — his cohort in The Little Willies — on vocals.

How did it feel to do that Ray Charles chestnut with Norah? It felt great. The guys were really excited, the producer was really excited. But I wanted her to come in and hit the ground running. So that was our first take, but the first time I went through some decisions, like “Should I make it heavy, like Led Zeppelin? More evil-sounding?” But the minimal arrangement really complements Norah, especially the kick drum. I think it’s the best collaboration she and I have ever done.

You seem to swim in a rather large pool of talented friends who are always happy to help each other out. That’s a good observation. And it’s funny — when you’re in it, you still forget. I just played guitar on a record by this New York blues guy Bill Simms. And it ended up that Emmylou Harris sang on it, too. And the producer said, “I just realized that we have access to everyone — everyone we know eventually knows everyone else!” And I said “Yeah! Emmylou came to see me play, and I sat next to her at Martha Wainwright’s wedding.” I forgot even I’m connected to her!

And Lou Reed actually caught one of your Living Room shows? The Living Room just closed, so now I have a regular Monday residency at Rockwood Music Hall, two blocks away. But yeah, I looked up, and there was Lou Reed, sitting four tables in front of me. So I whispered to the band “Throw out the set list! We’re playing for Lou!” But at The Living Room, Billy Joel would come by, Abel Ferrara, the casts of certain plays, even Patrick Stewart.

Just hearing Patrick Stewart enunciate “Your show sucked” would probably sound cool. Yeah! But he kept coming back, several weeks in a row, and I wound up having Thanksgiving dinner with him two years ago. He really dug it!

IF YOU GO

The Jim Campilongo Trio

Where: Yoshi’s, 1330 Fillmore St. S.F.

Where: 7 and 9 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $16 to $21

Contact: (415) 655-5600, www.yoshis.comartsChris MorrisseyJim Campilongo TrioJosh DionPop Music & Jazz

Just Posted

Pharmacist Hank Chen is known for providing personalized service at Charlie’s Pharmacy in the Fillmore.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Left: A Walgreens at 300 Gough St. is among San Francisco stores closing.
Walgreens closures open the door for San Francisco’s neighborhood pharmacies

‘I think you’ll see more independents start to pop up’

San Franciscans are likely to have the opportunity to vote in four different elections in 2022. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Electionpalooza: SF school board recall will kick off a flurry of local races

‘It’s going to be a lot of elections and a lot of decisions for voters to make’

Four young politicos were elected to city government on the Peninsula in 2020. From left: Redwood City Councilmember Michael Smith; South San Francisco Councilmember James Coleman; Redwood City Councilmember Lissette Espinoza-Garnica; and East Palo Alto Councilmember Antonio Lopez.<ins> (Examiner illustration/Courtesy photos)</ins>
Progressive politicians rise to power on the Peninsula. Will redistricting reverse the trend?

‘There’s this wave of young people really trying to shake things up’

The fate of San Francisco nicotine giant Juul remains to be seen, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reviewing whether to allow certain flavored vape products on the market. <ins>(Jeenah Moon/New York Times)</ins>
How the vape king of teen nicotine addiction rose and fell in San Francisco

‘Hey, Juul, don’t let the door hit you on the way out’

Most Read