Jim Campilongo (born July 8, 1958) is an American guitarist from San Francisco and a member of The Little Willies, featuring Norah Jones.
Campilongo plays a Fender Custom Shop Campilongo Signature Fender Telecaster. He employs a hybrid right-hand technique that involves the use of both a plectrum and his fingers. He holds a mandolin pick between his thumb and forefinger while plucking with his middle and third fingers.
He is a teacher and a contributing editor to Guitar Player magazine.
Campilongo was born in South San Francisco, California. When he was nine, he discovered the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, courtesy of his two sisters. He became interested in improvisation, saying in one interview, "I knew I liked improvisation and long musical journeys...so I used to buy albums based exclusively on how long the tracks were...That's how I discovered John Coltrane Live in Japan, John McLaughlin Devotion, a couple of different Cream albums."
Campilongo's career began in the mid-1970s. He studied guitar in San Francisco with Bunnie Gregoire, who taught him to embrace many genres of music, including jazz guitarist George Van Eps and country singer John Denver. He used green stamps to buy his first guitar. During high school, he played with his friend and drummer Ken Owen, and when he was seventeen he began performing with local bands. One of Campilongo's biggest influences at the time was blues guitarist Roy Buchanan.
His recording career started in San Francisco in 1996 when he formed Jim Campilongo and the 10 Gallon Cats. After several years, he left the group and recorded Table for One in 1998.
In 2002, he moved to New York City and formed his Electric Trio, which toured Europe and Scandinavia and recorded the album American Hips on Blue Hen Records. In 2003, he formed the group The Little Willies with Norah Jones, Richard Julian, Lee Alexander, and Dan Rieser.
He has performed or recorded with Al Anderson, Bright Eyes, Cake, J. J. Cale, Steve Cardenas, Marilyn Carino, Chris Cheek, Nels Cline, Julia Darling, Charlie Hunter, Adam Levy, Sunny Ozell, David Rawlings, Peter Rowan, Leah Siegel, Teddy Thompson, Martha Wainwright, and Gillian Welch.
Campilongo released the critically acclaimed Orange in 2010. In January 2011, his song "Awful Pretty, Pretty Awful" was nominated for Best Instrumental Song at the 10th Annual Independent Music Awards.
His album Dream Dictionary (2014) featured Chris Morrissey (bass) and Josh Dion (drums). Other notable contributions came from Steve Cardenas, who played on two acoustic numbers, and Norah Jones, who sang on the album's only vocal number, "Here I Am" by Ray Charles.