Judd Greenstein is as much an impresario as he is a composer, and sometimes the line between those roles can blur. On Saturday, June 30, on an outdoor stage in the World Financial Center Plaza in Manhattan, he performed his own music in a free concert to kick off Ecstatic Summer, produced by the arts organization he directs, New Amsterdam Presents.
Greenstein played selections from his new work, “Sh’lomo,” commissioned by the Six Points Fellowship. A musical interpretation of the life of King Solomon, the work doesn’t appear to be finished yet, but the four pieces I saw — performed by his nine-piece band, the Yehudim — were bright and buoyant and promising.
The strongest piece was “These Are The Sons of Israel,” gliding smoothly through sections of choral incantation, jazz-fusion and synth-pop. It was undergirded by an Afrobeat pulse, with funky guitar and bass. Greenstein, on Fender Rhodes, confidently traded lead vocals with Olga Bell, also on keyboards.