When asked about the all-star line up he engaged for this project, Kris pointed out the relaxed and effortless piano playing by Zaccai Curtis was only fitting. Zaccai, who played piano and also edited the record and helped produce ‘Circle House’ it, is in Kris’ opinion, “One of the finest musicians of his generation. Every solo, song, album, or live set he is involved with tells a story.” The only other obvious choice to add the foundation to this album was his brother, Luques Curtis. They also played together in many circumstances, and Luques has his own distinctive sound and feel which complemented the rhythm section headed by Eric McPherson. It had long been Kris’ dream to do a project involving Eric McPherson, who was one of his musical heroes early on in his relationship with this music. Kris continually marvels at how quickly Eric is able to respond to what he plays, “I hear such a strong mental focus in what he does, I don't know of any better way to put it,” notes Kris. It helps that Kris considered these three men good friends, and thinks that the fruit of a lot of care and mutual respect can be heard throughout this album.
From "Circle House", which was musically just a simple straight- ahead vehicle for swinging to "Hopewell" which was actually written for septet, there’s a message that inspires each original composition. Both of these songs are dedicated to a few organizations that fight to end human trafficking. And his goal is using his music help to raise awareness about the plight of so many helpless people. "Foti and Liminitz" is the most recent composition, and is influenced by Stevie Wonder's music and can be heard in the melody and certain parts of the harmony. It was also named after two fictional characters that are the stars of the bedtime stories that he tells his son Avery and daughter Rory. “Overshadow” encompasses a groove that was pretty much an on-the -spot creation by Luques and Eric, and it makes for a good contrast with the other tracks on the record. “This might be my favorite!” Exclaims Kris.
“Passing” was a blues that was written by Kris after Jackie McLean passed away in March of 2006. Zaccai's intro adds a heart-felt touch that translates the emotions Kris was feeling when composing this piece. Along with " Passing", Kris also dedicated Star Eyes to Jackie, as he was the one who got him to fall in love with American Standards.
This album has already received rave reviews and can already be heard streaming on the airwaves throughout the nation and when asked about how he’d like his listeners to react to his music, he had this to say, “My very favorite music makes me feel good, it helps me think better, more hope-filled thoughts, helps me to get rid of depression, helps me to be excited about tomorrow. It makes me feel connected to the people playing and everyone that I am sharing the experience with. If my music can do these things for folks too, that would be a good reaction.”
Listeners will have no problem in walking away feeling good and perhaps the hope and joy gained from ‘Circle House’ will be passed on just as it was passed on to him through the years by so many great musicians who also blazed a path with amazing music.