Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bert Joris – Jazz In Belgium

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

Trumpet and flugelhorn player Bert Joris is an example of what every Jazz musician should be; a chance-taker.

When he solos, Bert reaches for things. He tries to play what he hears in the moment and not what he’s heard previously.

Of course, all Jazz musicians have resting places – phrases or “licks” they’ve tried before - which fit into where they find themselves at certain points in an improvisation.

It’s impossible to invent something new at every moment during a solo.

And none of us can escape our influences or, in the case of the Jazz trumpet, as one example, be so original as to re-invent the sound of it the way Pops did, or Diz or Miles.

But while our playing can reflect the tone or sound or texture of those we imitated while learning to play the music, it takes a brave soul to venture into new “lines” or melodies and give the listener something they haven’t heard before.

Originality of expression is something every Jazz musician – and Jazz fan – craves. It makes you stop; moves your ears in a different direction. It’s the Ah Ha! moment which is usually followed by a knowing smile and a nod of appreciation for what the artist has accomplished.

For a relatively young man, Bert Joris is an old soul.

Mindful and respectful of what has come before him in Jazz, he puts notes together in ways that are new and different.

In other words, he’s trying to play himself.

If, as Pops says – “Jazz is what you are” – then Bert Joris is one of the more unpretentious and honest trumpet players to come along in a while.

He doesn’t have super-refined technique, doesn’t always hit every note just right, and he isn’t always complete in beginning and ending a phrase.

But what he plays is music at its emotional and inventive best.

Perhaps his decade-old association with Italian Jazz pianist Dado Moroni has helped Bert finds his own voice. No one playing Jazz today is a more honest Jazz musician that Dado.

Bert gives a lot of credit to Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine for helping him “… find the sound that could carry me (and my audience) away.”

Whatever the sources that served to unlock the heart, mind and soul of Bert Joris, they have helped give expression to some of the most refreshing Jazz sounds that the editorial staff at JazzProfiles has heard in years.

Thanks to the help of the ace graphics team at CerraJazz LTD and the production facilities at StudioCerra, we’ve been able to put together the following video using an audio track of Bert playing his original composition Magone with Dado Moroni on piano, Philippe Aerts on bass and Dre’ Pallemaerts on drums.

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We will continue our look at Bert’s music, this time in a big band setting, in our next blog posting.