Weather Report, Tale Spinnin ', Columbia PC 33417 Wayne Shorter, Nativc Dancer, Columbia PC 33418 Wliat we have here are two diverse discs from a group of musicians involved at the forefront of the contemporary progressive music scène. One is a formal, up-to-theminute, group statement from Weather Report; the other a looser, "solo" shot that allows Wayne Shorter, a major figure in his own right, room for a little idiosyncratic indulgence. Weather Report has been threatening to impress their music on the mass (read "rock") mind ever since their third album, "Sweetnighter". It was followed by Mysterious Traveller, even more accessible and popular, and now Tale Spinnin ' is upon us. lt is the group's most cohesive, successful effort to date. Each tune describes a complete, circumscribed, flawless, aural environment as smooth and impenetrable as a snowy scène under glass. This is both the album's major strength and minor weakness. The key to Weather Report's sound is the art of Joe Zawinul's arranging - a remarkable, danceable blend of the electronic and the ethnic. Tale Spinnin ' is a collection of innumerable, unusual strokes -undreamed-of synthesizer screams and hums ride bump for bump with ancient acoustic shakers from África and Shorter's balmy Latin speeches. The group is so tight and the arrangements and sound mix combine so slickly as to occasionally prevent one from grasping individual lines - one is forced to deal with a seamless wall of sound. Nonetheless, Tale Spinnin ' is a momumental, nearly monolithic, achievement, infused throughout with vitaminenriched goodness. Weather Report is peaking. Shorter's solo effort, Native Dancer, his first for Columbia after more than a decade with Blue Note, is looser and warmer than Tale Spinnin '. One gets the feeling that Wayne, on his own, feels he has nothing to prove. Like another saxophone giant, Sonny Rollins, Wayne has maintained a long-term, ongoing love affair with Latin musics. Native Dancer features Wayne with Brazilian vocalist Milton Nascimento. This pairing recalls Stan Getz's early Sixties work with Astrud Gilberto and more recently, the music of Flora Plurim with Chick Corea. Nascimento sings in Portuguese in a quavery, unpolished, enthusiastic tenor. Shorter plays with characteristic assurance throughout and it's evident that he enjoyed making this album. But I long to hear him blow harder, the way he used to on albums like Speak No Evil. There's no longer a sense of urgency in his playing - it's all relaxed wisdom and economy of statement. Perphaps that's just my problem. Anyway, "Ponta De Areia," "Beauty and the Beast," and "Lilia" are the most interesting tunes and the whole of Native Dancer is pleasant and airy.