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.