Travis started playing professionally at age 15, playing in the early 1940s with Johnny McGhee, Vido Musso (1942), Mitch Ayres, and Woody Herman (1942-44). In 1944 he joined the military; after his service he played with Ray McKinley (1946-50, intermittent), Benny Goodman (1948-49), Gene Krupa, Ina Ray Hutton, Tommy Dorsey, Tex Beneke, Herman once more (1950-51), Jerry Gray, Bob Chester, Elliot Lawrence, and Jimmy Dorsey (1952-53). From 1953-56 he was a soloist in the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra. After this he became a session musician for NBC, but played with Gerry Mulligan (1960-62) and Thelonious Monk (1963, at Lincoln Center).
In 1964, Travis died at age 38 as a result of complications from ulcers.
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With Art Farmer
- The Aztec Suite (United Artists, 1959)
With Dizzy Gillespie
With Benny Golson
- Take a Number from 1 to 10 (Argo, 1961)
With Mark Murphy
- That's How I Love the Blues! (Riverside, 1962)
With Zoot Sims
- Zoot! (Riverside, 1956)
With Own Quintet
- The Panic Is On! (Hallmark, 1990)