18 January 1957 (age 61)
Wilrijk, Antwerp, Antwerpen, Flanders, Belgium
Bert Joris started studying music at an early age. At first, he played piano and violin, but eventually, at the age of fourteen, he settled on the trumpet. He had a classic education at the Antwerp music conservatory, even though jazz held a greater attraction for him, being a style that was better suited to developing his creative talents. From 1978 to 1987, he worked with the BRT Jazz Orchestra, which was led by Etienne Verscheuren. Initially, he played the trumpet there, but he also attracted notice as a composer and arranger and eventually became a guest conductor. Meanwhile, Bert Joris continued to build on his reputation as a teacher. In 1987, this led to a teaching position at the famous Swiss Jazz School in Bern. At about the same time, he launched a jazz course at the Leuven Lemmensinstituut, which gradually developed into what is now the school’s jazz department. From 1990 till 1992, he was a trumpet teacher at the Hilversum Conservatory. In 1992, Bert Joris started up an intense collaboration with the Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine. He has also performed with many other musicians and ensembles. He has toured Europe with the ensembles of Rob van Bavel, Robert Jan Vermeulen, Wolfgang Haffner, Ricardo del Fra, Michel Herr, Enrico Pieranunzi, Joe Haider and Act Big Band. In addition, he formed the Bert Joris Quartet (with pianist Dado Moroni, drummer Dre Pallemaerts and bassist Philippe Aerts). He is often invited as a soloist and/or as a composer-conductor by larger European formations and big hands like those of Klaus Weiss, Al Porcino, the Concertgebouw Jazz Orchestra, the Metropoolorkest and many others. In 1986, he toured Europe together with the renowned drummer and band leader Mel Lewis, which led to an invitation to conduct Lewis’s big band at the New York club The Village Vanguard, in a project with his own music. The sudden death of Mel Lewis put an end to this project. In 1998, he travelled to the US, where he scored a great success with the SJS Big Band, with which he conducted work of his own, e.g. in the famous Birdland jazz club, with Clark Terry as guest soloist. This success was confirmed in 2003 when he was invited to come and present his music, together with the BJO, at the most prestigious and international meeting of jazz musicians from all over the world: IJAJE in New York. In 1998, Bert Joris received the Django d’Or Award and in 1998, he was voted the best Belgian jazz trumpet player by the listeners of RTBF and VRT and the French-language Belgian music press. As the house composer of the BJO, he has produced three CDs: September Sessions, The Music of Bert Joris, and Meeting Colours with Philip Catherine. ©Tom Jannsens, 2006
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