“Piano Man” Billy Joel has long been a lover of jazz. He studied with Lennie Tristano, has employed jazz musicians on his albums and tours, and has even been known to sit in at clubs around New York. His affection for the music, however, has never been more clear than it is now: His charitable organization, the Billy Joel Foundation, has made a gift of $25,000 to the Smalls and Mezzrow jazz clubs, which are located next door to each other on West 10th Street in Manhattan.
Specifically, the Joel Foundation has donated the money to Smalls and Mezzrow owner Spike Wilner’s nonprofit, the SmallsLIVE Foundation for Jazz Art and Education. Its mission includes the provision of emergency funds for jazz musicians in need, as well as subsidizing the operation of the two clubs—which, like most live music venues around the country (and indeed the world), have been dark since mid-March due to coronavirus quarantine guidelines.
“Hopefully, we can relieve some of their hardship and make things a little easier during this crisis,” Joel said in a statement published on April 13.
For more information about SmallsLIVE, visit the Foundation’s website.