photo by Brandon Lu (@brandontonlu)

photo by Brandon Lu (@brandontonlu)

Emilio Mesa is an active musician in the Dallas / Fort Worth area, pushing creative boundaries and reaching out to his audiences through his organic approach to saxophone and composition. Mesa is an alumnus of the prestigious University of North Texas (UNT), where he completed his Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies, studied with Brad Leali, and performed/recorded with the Two O’Clock Lab Band. While leading his "Constructed Reality” project, a genre-defying ensemble that seeks inspiration from the beauty of the world in which we live, co-leading Imposter, an avant-garde voice/sax/guitar trio, and Nothing Machine, an avant-garde saxophone trio, Mesa also performs regularly in other group configurations, where he can be heard playing straight-ahead jazz with influences ranging from Johnny Hodges and Cannonball Adderley to Lee Konitz and Ornette Coleman. Mesa’s debut album, documenting about 5 years worth of compositions for “Constructed Reality,” has an anticipated release of spring 2019.

During his time at UNT, Mesa performed in several ensembles, both inside and outside of school. While experiencing the standard big band repertoire and various straight-ahead and fusion small groups in school, Mesa has been a part of several outside projects with his colleagues, including The Octopod (avant-garde octet), with whom he can be heard on their recently released debut album, “Monoliths and Sepulchres,” and Ararat (Armenian/metal/jazz fusion). Mesa also served as a UNT College of Music Ambassador, where he was able to share his enthusiasm and gratitude for his alma mater by speaking with prospective students and showing them around the college.

As a continuation of his collegiate music studies, Mesa attended the Keep an Eye Summer Jazz Workshop at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam (Netherlands) in 2016 on full scholarship. In 2018, he was invited to attend the Boysie Lowery Living Jazz Residency in Wilmington, DE (USA) and was selected to attend the Siena Jazz International Jazz Workshop (Italy), where he had the opportunity to work with internationally acclaimed artists, including Kenny Werner, Gilad Hekselman, Ben Wendel, Jen Shyu, and Henry Cole. Mesa was invited to return to Siena in 2019 on full merit scholarship. 

Mesa maintains a private lesson studio of about fifty middle school, high school, and adult students, is the woodwinds instructor at Explorations Preparatory School, and is proficient on piano, flute, piccolo, and clarinet in addition to saxophone.  Mesa was on faculty at the annual jazz camp sponsored by Olivas Music and the El Paso Friends of Jazz from 2013-15.  Mesa has been on recording projects by the Dallas Jazz Orchestra and Los Angeles-based, rock artist Tommy Mora (“Let It Shine,” RMC Records), has had his compositions choreographed and featured on Southern Methodist University's Dance Series Showcase, and has had a composition featured as part of an exhibit at the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston. Mesa can also be heard on the most recent UNT Two O’Clock Lab Band album, "Channel Two."