Paradigm Shift
(7 Project Music)


Back when was in its early years, we reviewed a CD by a group called Project 7 titled Birth/Death/Infinity. That was back in May 2001 and lo and behold in May 2010 there’s a new Project 7 CD out in 2009 called Paradigm Shift. In fact, the nine cut CD features the same lineup of players from the first CD, including guitarist Dan Begelman, John DeCesare (bass) and Tony Gallino (drums). Now like then, these guys represent some of the finest musical intelligence on Long Island these days. The all instrumental CD still features P7’s modern approach to instrumental jazz-rock fusion, with the emphasis on rock. Clearly, guitar fans into Beck and McLaughlin will still get a buzz off of Begelman’s sonic guitar interplay between his two Project 7 band mates. That first Project 7 CD that reviewed way back when featured a great rave up instrumental cover version of the Yardbirds’ classic “For Your Love” and fittingly, this new Project 7 features a dynamic instro cover of the famous 1970 Mountain classic “Theme For An Imaginary Western” that will impress fans of Leslie West and Mountain as well as Jack Bruce and Cream. All in all, Paradigm Shift offers a fantastic listening experience for guitar fans into high quality instrumental fusion. /


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Musical Background

I've been playing guitar for over 40 years, starting out by fooling around on my father's nylon string guitar. He studied classical and flamenco guitar as a hobby, so I was exposed to that type of music early on. My interest quickly became an obsession and my parents found a guitar teacher who came to my home. An hour lesson for $3.50, playing on a five dollar guitar that my parents bought for me from the dry cleaning man who came by weekly to drop off and pick up the laundry. I learned from the Mel Bay Guitar Method, going through, if my memory serves me correctly, volumes I through VII. Although it gave me a good foundation in technique, basic theory and reading skills, it wasn't helping me play what I wanted to play, so I would pick off songs and guitar licks from records (those plastic discs that spun at 33 1/3 RPM on a Hi-Fi). Remember back then there was no such thing as Guitar World magazine or the internet, so there were not as many sources to go to as there are today. You either learned from a teacher or learned by yourself. I had a good ear so I was able to pick things off records pretty quickly, playing all the rock tunes of the day, Beatles, Stones, Doors, Jefferson Airplane, etc. I was also a big Ventures fan playing all that instrumental surf music which is interesting, as my passion is composing and performing instrumental music. Throughout my career I've done (and continue to do) almost everything a musician can do to earn a living in the music business. I've been a Broadway pit musician, done countless recording sessions, played clubs of all sizes to major venues such as Madison Square Garden and everything in between. I've taught guitar both privately and in seminars and have done product demos at the NAMM show in California for the AXON guitar synthesizer. I've also been music director and arranger for 50's rock 'n' roll shows playing with just about every artist from the 50's doo wop, rock 'n' roll era including the Shirelles, Coasters, Bo Diddley, Chantels, Chuck Berry, etc. At present, my main gig is working for Alfred Music publishing company as a guitar arranger and engraver, doing those note for note guitar and bass transcriptions. I also do freelance arranging work for Guitar World magazine. Lastly, I play electric bass in a club date band (weddings, parties, etc.). All the aforementioned are ways of earning a living, but Project 7, which this is really about, is my musical vision and my musical playground.

New CD

My new CD, Paradigm Shift was recorded in Farmingdale, Long Island at The Loft Recording Studios. The Loft was built by my partner and drummer, Tony Gallino. We spent about three years developing the material, arranging and recording the album. My first two CD's, Lost For Words and Birth/Death/Infinity were recorded in more traditional studios in a more traditional fashion. We recorded to two inch tape with basic tracks performed live as a trio with myself on guitar, John DeCesare on electric bass, and Tony Gallino on drums. We recorded at Cove Sound Studios in Long Island, Media Sound Studios in New York, and some other studios in Connecticut and New Jersey. But Paradigm Shift was recorded more as a studio project album than a band album, and was recorded digitally on a PC using Nuendo as the main program with assorted plug ins and software. Once we had the arrangements worked out, we put down a click track and I recorded some scratch guitar tracks to use as place holders and show the form. Then Tony Gallino laid down his drum tracks. Next, I added electric bass, with John DeCesare performing additional bass tracks. After that came rhythm guitar tracks, heads, solos, etc. And then Tony added keyboard overdubs. So the album was pieced together as opposed to performed together as my first two CD's were. Being that I was only twenty minutes from the studio, we could find assorted hours during the week, evenings, weekends, whenever we could squeeze in two, three, four hours and move ahead. That accounted for the taking almost three years to complete, but with families, children, work, you do the best you can. The reason I named this CD and the title track "Paradigm Shift" is that I see it as a shift back towards my rock roots. My first CD, Lost For Words is a pretty straight ahead rock/fusion type outing, and my second CD, Birth/Death/Infinity continues in that vein with darker, more cerebral compositions. Paradigm Shift has elements of Cream, Led Zep, Pink Floyd, etc., sounding more rock influenced than my two preceding CD's, though not necessarily by intent. When I compose music I never have a target or style in mind. I just fiddle around with my guitar searching for something, and a new chord voicing, a new riff, a new slant on an old idea could become the genesis of a composition. The name "Paradigm Shift" was floating around in my head and it just seemed to gel when I was looking for a title, something to describe the feel and intent of the record. I'm very pleased with the CD, both in terms of content and production. Of course, there's always something you hear that you wish you could re-record, remix, etc. but you have to shut it down after a while and say, "that's it, we're done". I feel the CD is a good representation of me as a guitarist and composer as it captures a lot of moods, themes, and guitar sounds and styles. But most important to me is that it's a music record, not necessarily a guitar record. There's many guitar records out there with some magnificent players but the music falls short. I'm trying to create art, not make a shredding record. That's cool for some, but for me it's about the music, it's about the composition.

Favorite Guitars

I'm one of those vintage guys, old Les Pauls, old Strats and Tele's, old Marshalls and Fender amps. As for strings, I have an endorsement with GHS and use their guitar strings exclusively. I use standard "9" and "10" gauge sets and medium (45 to 105) for electric bass. All instruments are in standard tuning except for using drop D tuning on "Kaleidoscope". I won't break down track by track, but here is a list of instruments I used on Paradigm Shift. 1957 Les Paul Custom, 1953 Les Paul Standard, 1961 Les Paul SG standard, 1966 ES 335, 1957 ES 175, 1963 Stratocaster, 1968 Telecaster, 1957 reissue Stratocaster, and some assorted Frankenstein Stratocasters (random parts put together). Also, an Epiphone 7 string Les Paul, a Takamine acoustic guitar, a 1962 Precision Bass and a 1969 Jazz Bass. All electric guitars were played through a 1969 100 watt Marshall 1/2 stack (4x12" speakers) using a THD hot plate (allowing you to turn up the amp to get overdrive while keeping the overall sound output low), a Marshall Lead 20 with 1x10" speaker and a 1968 Fender Super Reverb. All bass guitars were recorded direct. As for pedals, when I play live I use some old Boss pedals; overdrive, chorus, delay, octave pedal and wah. But on the recording no pedals were used. We went for as clean a signal going in as we could get, except of course when we wanted overdrive and used the Marshall head with the hot plate so we could turn it way up without blowing out the windows or our ears. The small Marshall was used for some parts that needed more distortion as it has two volume controls so you could crank the gain and overdrive the amp. The Fender Super Reverb was used for some cleaner guitar tracks. All delays, chorus and reverb were added after so the input signal was not only clean but unaffected. This way you can control the effects during mixing. If you record with effects you're stuck with them, so it's always better to record without them and have that control during mixing.

Musical Influences

As for musical influences, the usual suspects, I imagine. Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, John McLaughlin, Duane Allman. Then there's Andres Segovia, Joe Pass, Chet Atkins, Les Paul, Nokie Edwards and The Ventures. Let's not forget Herbie Hancock, Billy Cobham, Bach, Mozart, where do I stop? Point being, as a guitarist, of course I'm influenced by the guitarists just mentioned and more. But as a musician, I'm influenced by anyone creating great music on any instrument. It's more than being a guitarist, it's being a musician, an artist, and it just happens to be that guitar is my instrument. As for most influential albums I'd have to say Jeff Beck's Blow By Blow and all of his subsequent albums, Mahavishnu Orchestra with John McLaughlin and the Allman Brothers Live At The Fillmore East. These artists and their records gave me the courage and motivation to compose and record my own music. They allowed me to see that there was a way to incorporate so many musical styles that I was interested in and morph them together into a viable, commercial product. They were ground breaking records and continue to amaze and entertain me.

Upcoming Plans

At present, I'm promoting my CD's and have recently signed with a small company in Japan, One Up Music, who will represent me in Japan and the surrounding areas. They will be doing a big launch of my CD's in June and hopefully will get a good response. If things go well, maybe plans to perform over in Japan can be worked out. Project 7 has been dormant as a performing band over the last few years as we've been focused on recording. Now, we're back in rehearsals again and expect to be playing out in the late summer or fall of this year. I'm always working on new ideas for future CD's, recording demos on a 4 track Tascam cassette recorder. Not state of the art by any means, but all of my three CD's were conceived on that machine so I continue to work that way. It's got charm, notwithstanding a little tape hiss.

Web Site

My website is
and I can be reached at


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