Special Encounter is mostly a ballad set, featuring pianist Enrico Pieranunzi in close interplay with the sensitive bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Paul Motian. They perform three standards, five originals by the pianist, and three songs by Haden. Two of the most memorable numbers are by the bassist, with both "Waltz for Ruth" and "Hello My Lovely" deserving to become standards. The music overall is gentle, taken at a relaxed pace and lyrical but never sleepy. These musicians know how to play both quietly and with passion, a rare skill. Special Encounter is a subtle treat.