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Mesa Jazz & Blues Theater - How it got started

Updated: Aug 21, 2022

On October 2, 2022 the Mesa Jazz and Blues Theater will have it’s first concert, a Grand Opening Extravaganza, which will feature top-level local performers including three bands and 4 vocalist performing some jazz and some blues and paying tribute to some artists.

88 year old Bill Travis is the founder and CEO of the Mesa Jazz and Blues theater and describes why he decided to form this non-profit corporation.

Mesa did not have a theater for live music that specialized in top-level jazz and blues music, the music that originated in America. I felt there was a void to be filled so I formed an Arizona non-profit corporation and applied for the IRS 501(c)3 exemption so the theater could attract sponsors who also wanted to preserve and present that music in Mesa.

I was a high school dropout who was drafted into the Army in 1953. There I studied and passed an audition to be accepted into the 4th Armored Division Band, and that’s when I learned that one could succeed if they set high goals, visualized having achieved them, and worked hard toward reaching them.

So, I got my education, began flight training, and eventually became a Captain for Pan Am Airlines

Captain Bill Travis

where I had a 28 year career until retirement age in 1992.

I’ve been a musician, drummer, all my life, so after retirement, I formed my own 17-piece band and several smaller ones that I booked and performed with for 10 years in the San Francisco area.

After relocating to the Phoenix area in 2004, I gave up playing drums and did some other projects. During that time I wrote two books; “Pan Am Captain, Aiming High”, and “HOA Boards, What you need to know but weren’t told”. Both are available on Amazon.

While volunteering at a local community theater, in the sound department, I was asked to book some of the performances. After a while I decided to leave and start booking performances on my own at another venue. Due to Omicron, I had to shut down, and during the down time, I decided to put together a board of directors to develop a non-profit theater specializing in jazz and blues utilizing top-level local, and nationally known performers.

Big Pete Pearson

During our Grand Opening Extravaganza on October 2, 2022, we will celebrate the 86th birthday of legendary blues performer Big Pete Pearson, and my 89th birthday.

The first 50 tickets of all our shows have a 10% discount (for a limited time).

Use coupon code: “Early101”

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