‘Sugar Coated’ Andy Hernandez

Aka Coati Mundi, ‘Sugar Coated’ Andy Hernandez is probably best known as the sidekick of August Darnell (aka Kid Creole).

We’ll come to August in a few days, but in the meantime, I think it’s worth paying respect to a performer who’s never really been given his due as either a musician or a style icon, though surely this chap had the chops.

Not only did he play with any number of pre-Coconuts Darnell projects, but he added his vibraphone to records by Joe Bataan, N’Dea Davenport, Nona Hendryx, Tito Puente, Manny Oquendo & Conjunto Libre, Hall & Oates and Machito. Serious musicians.

His dress style is East (Spanish) Harlem cab driver on a night out uptown. Casual cool, and elegant for a short guy. He’s cashmere and lambswool, but with a street hood edge to it. Never effeminate or camp, you could say that Hernandez’ look is Puerto Rican Preppy.

Last year he produced a new album, his first for many years (in which he mostly acted, playing wise-guy ne’er-do-wells in films like Who’s That Girl, and several Spike Lee joints).  He also supervised the music choices on 54 – quite apt as his own music has explored a night club meld of latin, disco and big band music.

His philosophy is one I think we should all take note of, and one I adopt in my own life: he once said in an interview, “I have never let the lack of talent stop me from doing anything”.

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~ by Lord Leigh Park on April 9, 2011.

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