Billy Joel's Joel Foundation has donated $25,000 to Greenwich Village's Smalls Jazz Club & Mezzrow — which has created a nonprofit organization called SmallsLIVE Foundation for Jazz Art and Education.
An announcement was posted on his official website (BillyJoel.com), which explains, “Their mission is to subsidize the operation of the clubs, independent artist sponsorships including recordings and tours, their initiative with The New School, emergency funds for jazz musicians in need and extensive audio/video archive. Hopefully, we can relieve some of their hardship and make things a little easier during this crisis. To learn more about SmallsLIVE, please visit smallslive.com”
Although Billy Joel has always been known for his pop/rock sensibilities, as any diehard fan will tell you — the “Piano Man” has been quite happy dipping his toes into the jazz world from time to time: “When it was time to back in the studio and make another album, rather than try to reproduce the kind of songs that were on The Stranger, I went more towards a jazz influence. 52nd Street was a famous jazz club street in Manhattan — it was called 'Swing Street' — and we were aware of the history of all these jazz clubs; Charlie Parker had a jazz club there. So, there's a lot of. . . a lot of jazz influence on here. 'Zanzibar' — we had Freddie Hubbard played trumpet.”