Just your basic Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, Costa/Puerto Rican, electric-acoustic nine-piece Chicago band (and we all know how common they are). For most of the 80s, Chevere has been among the most explosively exciting bands in the midwest, and also one of the least visible–largely because most clubs shy away from booking bands this size. But there’s no wasted motion in Chevere: crowded as it is with top-drawer musicians, the Chevere bandstand merely mirrors the versatility and complexity of this well-oiled machine. Lose any one of the three percussionists and you’d fatally dilute Chevere’s melting-pot stew of this hemisphere’s rhythms; subtract either the acoustic piano or the electronic keyboards, the horns or the acid-wail guitar, and you’d only weaken the richly textured voice of the ensemble. Chevere cannot be categorized as salsa, samba, Latin, or any of a half-dozen labels (which all apply); instead, drummer Alejo Poveda, pianist Howard Levy, saxist Steve Eisen, and company throw it all together into something that can be truly called “American.” Don’t worry about finding a seat; even if you do, Chevere won’t let you sit still anyway. Saturday, 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 878-5552.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Georgia Roulo.