photo by Isabel Crespo

photo by Isabel Crespo

Emilio Mesa is an active musician in the Dallas / Fort Worth and El Paso, TX areas, 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, and co-leading 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. Constructed Reality has recorded their debut album, release date TBA.

In high school, Mesa was selected as a member of the El Paso Youth Jazz Ensemble, where he played many concerts and club dates with the group for four years.  Mesa was a featured member of his high school jazz ensemble, winning “Outstanding Soloist” and “Outstanding Musician” awards at local competitions, as well as being nationally recognized by the Foundation for Musical Excellence, Mark of Excellence / Jazz Honors Project in 2011 for his solo on “Georgia on My Mind.”  Mesa was also honored as a member of the 2012 TMEA All-State Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Wycliffe Gordon.

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.

Mesa maintains a private lesson studio of about forty middle school, high school, and adult students, is the woodwinds instructor at Explorations Preperatory 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."