This is the second solo effort from Scarlet Rivera (violin), who had gained notoriety from a stint with Bob Dylan around the time of Desire (1975) and the infamous Rolling Thunder Review tour. She is also one of a handful of artists who has taken the violin out of the orchestra pit, presenting a fresh texture to rock music. Her debut, Scarlet Rivera (1977), concentrated on a fusion of jazz, funk, and rock behind some seriously studious melodies. She continues to build on the progress from her first disc with studio stalwarts further augmenting her core band of Gary Burke (drums/vibes), Ed Mikenas (bass), and Dominic Cardinale (keyboards). Perhaps foreshadowing her own copious recording session work, Rivera hosts a bevy of West Coast heavies Michael Brecker (saxophone) and Randy Brecker (saxophone), David Sanborn (saxophone), Clarence Clemons (saxophone/vocals), Elliott Randall (guitar), Paul Prestopino (mandolin), and Bernard "Pretty" Purdie (drums), among others. Such contributions are a double-edged sword as they provide significant strength, yet fail to achieve as thoroughly unified a sound as the distinctly smaller quartet from her earlier outing. With the exception of the disco-fied title composition "Scarlet Fever," the vast majority of the album reflects an equally consistent batch of original material. "Frenzy" is an edgy, up-tempo instrumental that is shredded by Rivera as her lean staccato runs punctuate the sinuously syncopated melody and features Sredni Vollner on harmonica. This is contrasted by the thoughtful and dreamlike "Rainbow Man," spotlighting an alto sax spot from Michael Brecker. The funky "Lift Away" is decorated by an inspired vocal from Johnny Bowen and is decidedly divergent from David Waite's dramatic "Lure of the Sea Nymph," or the eerily whimsical Morning Glories, which is accented by a female chorus sandwiched between Rivera's whir of intensity. Although not as cohesive as Scarlet Rivera, Scarlet Fever (1978) is recommended for fusion enthusiasts. Incidentally, in 2004 both of the aforementioned long players were issued on compact disc by Collectors' Choice Music.
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer