« I like jazz that goes beyond jazz ». This admittance, which sounds like a manifesto, tells all about Eric Watson. Having graduated from the conservatory after a thoroughly classic training, the pianist never turned his back on his background although he never hesitated to venture into the field of improvisation. Born American, yet French by adoption, he values freedom above all. Refusing borderlines and classifications, Eric Watson has the same admiration for Thelonious Monk as for Charles Ives who, in his eyes, represent «the yin and the yang of the iconoclastic American spirit». This independence is characteristic of his (numerous) compositions over three decennia. It appears particularly in his solo pieces, an infallible test to judge a jazzman. He started giving proof of this as early as 1981, then already at the invitation of Jean-Jacques Pussiau, in « Bulls Blood » (Owl). « Child in the Sky » (Owl) will follow in 1986 and« Sketches of Solitude » (Night Bird Music) in 2001. “Memories of Paris » brings back this live music which Eric Watson champions. Perusing his memories of the metropolis where he first arrived in 1978 was an ideal occasion to give free expression to his lyricism and exuberance. From Pigalle (Rue des Martyrs) to the Palais Royal (Rue de Beaujolais), Montmartre (Rue des trois frères) and Clichy (Cité des Fleurs), Eric Watson’s own compositions bring us “his” vision of Paris: romantic, lively, rebellious, hectic. In this musical meandering in the form of a suite, the pianist-composer resorts to a variety of arguments: rigor can reach an ascetic note and generosity tends towards ardor. His solitary exercises in front of the 88 keys of his piano encourage reverie and awareness. This is maybe what we call jazz.