Jim Campilongo, a guitarist from San Francisco now based in New York, offers a distinctive, postmodern take on Telecaster music. He's mastered many of the idiomatic techniques and tones that define the style — the swells in volume, the tautly plucked pick-and-fingers licks and the reverb-heavy, trebly timbre known as "twang" — even if his sound tends to be less piercing, with more bottom end.
But Campilongo, who also plays with Norah Jones in The Little Willies, has an artier edge. On his new album, Orange, he crafts tumbleweed soundscapes in the manner of Cooder, Bill Frisell or Friends of Dean Martinez; taps vocalist Leah Siegel for dirge-like covers of the Stones and the Stooges; and infuses "When You Wish Upon a Star" with spooky nostalgia. There's a sense of economy about his playing that forces listeners to savor the gymnastics, and he keeps sharp company: Orange was produced by Anton Fier, a drummer with heavy downtown credibility, and features bassist Stephan Crump, who topped jazz polls in 2009 as part of pianist Vijay Iyer's game-changing trio.