Lee Konitz commented in The Wire, after being played one track from this CD "I think that [free improv] is something that can be fun to do, but compositionally I have to question the real worth of that kind of playing. I love to do that, but I think you have to have somehow a set of new standards to judge compositional worth."
The Penguin Guide to Jazz called this "… both visionary in scope and piecemeal in its actuality. The individual items range from a couple of minutes to over 19 in length, but each seems to last as long as it ought to, or has to." They finished their critique with "about as difficult as it gets."
T. Sedlak (Sample Magazine) wrote "… a freely improvised session that highlights much of the excitement and limitations of such approaches." Bill Shoemaker in JazzTimes: "It's a cliché to say that such albums reward committed listening, but, in the case of The Balance of Trade, it's true."
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