Missouri News

Highland High School alum prepares for release of debut jazz album

Collin Felter, a 2016 graduate of Highland High School, will release his seven-track debut jazz album Saturday. Now a student at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., Felter is studying commercial music with an emphasis in trombone performance. | Submitted Photo
Posted: Feb. 23, 2020 12:50 am Updated: Feb. 23, 2020 12:53 am

TAYLOR, Mo. — Collin Felter is days away from releasing his debut jazz album, and the Taylor, Mo., native says the nerves are starting to crescendo.

"I'm pretty excited to get it out in the world. I'd say it's definitely been a journey for me and the result of that journey is this music," Felter said, who is a senior at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., where he is studying commercial music with an emphasis in trombone performance.

The seven-track album will be released Saturday. The album will be available for purchase online through Spotify, Apple Music and locally at Second String Music, 100 N. Fifth Street, and Electric Fountain Brewing Coffee Bar and Roastery, 625 Maine.

Felter's journey with music began as a sixth-grade student in the Lewis County C-1 School District.

"For me, it all started when the high school band came into the classroom and started playing a bunch of different instruments. I don't necessarily know why, but I was drawn to the trombone," said Felter, who had grown up thinking he would make his career as a physicist even though he had a strong desire to play music.

"It wasn't towards the end of high school that I really started to feel that while I liked the intellectual approach of a career in science and mathematics, I was also limited by the confines of those two fields. I really felt like I needed a creative outlet," Felter said. "Once I dived into jazz music, it was this clicking moment for me."

Felter, who was raised in a household that he says was filled with the music of classic rock bands such as Led Zeppelin and ACDC, says he was introduced to jazz as a musical genre by his high school band instructor.

"A lot of people are intimidated by jazz, because they think it this upper-level music that is simply out-of-reach or that they wouldn't necessarily understand. Except jazz is none of those things; it is light, playful, it is not something to be intimidated by," Felter said. He said while he doesn't have any goals for album sales, he does hope his debut album will break down the barriers that separate potential jazz enthusiasts in Northeast Missouri from the music genre Felter says he plans to devote his professional career to exploring and creating more music as a jazz education instructor at the collegiate level.

"Each song on this album has some very basic over-arching jazz combinations of funky rhythms, pop saxophone solos, and other jazz harmonies that are meant to give that first-time listener, who may not know much about jazz, to sit back and to feel comfortable with the music they are hearing. I wanted this to be album that someone who grew up in that SSRq80s pop-music world enjoy, so I guess hearing that people enjoyed the music in a way that they didn't expect would be a marker of success for me," Felter said. He added that he spent a year writing new compositions for the album before finalizing the seven songs that made it onto the album.

Felter was joined in the recording studio with 12 musicians.

"The great thing about the music community down here in Nashville is that so many people are willing to support other musicians pursue their dreams and passions," Felter said. "Being in the studio with Grammy-winning and other award-winning musicians was just an incredible experience."

In addition to releasing the studio album, Felter said he is also working on releasing an analysis and transcription book that will help novice and longtime jazz listeners better understand the intricacies of the music. A release date for the book has not been set.

Ultimately, Felter said he hopes his debut album — and the other albums he hopes will likely follow — will inspire other young musicians in the same way that he was inspired by those Highland High School band students who came into that sixth grade classroom all those years ago.

"The creation of music is always going to ignite some kind of fire inside me," Felter said. "It is not necessarily the biggest secret or even that much of a secret, but making it in music simply requires to you to practice and having the confidence to go for it. A lot of people are blocked from their dreams because simply don't go for it. Practice your craft and then go for it."

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