Anthony Joseph the rebel at Jazz on his 31

Organized by the departmental council of Haute-Garonne, the Jazz sur son 31 festival begins this Wednesday evening with the Belmondo brothers and it’s sold out. Ditto tomorrow with Londoner Anthony Joseph.

Your new album has a punchy title: “the rich are only beaten when they run away” …

I borrowed it from Cyril Lionel Robert James, a Trinidadian historian and activist who left the West Indies in 1932 to come to England to defend the cause of the black people. I myself made this same trip in 1989. With this title, James tells us that to overthrow the rich, you have to kill them, that they will not give up any of their privileges. Frantz Fanon and Malcolm X said nothing else.

Why did you use these strong words?

We learned of George Floyd’s death when we were in the studio: it shocked me. The death of a black man is little in the United States, and yet the echo which reached us of this drama was immense, I saw flow from everywhere these cries of anger and these tears of sadness, carried by the movement Black Lives. Matter. I told myself that, even though the times are different, we had to remain vigilant. However, only one song on the album, “Swing Praxis”, addresses the revolutionary idea head-on.

This new album echoes the current artistic vitality of London …

It was natural that my songs permeate what I see and feel on a daily basis. As often in England, difficult times – and with the Covid and Brexit, we have been served! – are also moments of great creativity. I wanted to make a spiritual jazz record, with few musicians and words on it, sung and spoken, that would capture the zeitgeist, like Gil Scott-Heron or Linton Kwezi Johnson, my absolute heroes, were able to do it in their time. I wanted to talk about freedom, and jazz expresses that very well …

Anthony Joseph in concert Thursday October 7 at 8:30 p.m. at the Pavillon République. Full.