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Tootsie’s memoirs strike a new beat

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A Bermudian drummer's path from banging pots and pans as a child to playing for a president and performing in New York's prestigious Carnegie Hall is traced in a new book.

Clarence “Tootsie” Bean has summed up his astonishing 75-year career in a new memoir called Tootsie Never Missed A Beat and includes tales of how he mingled with top stars of the music world.

Donna Raynor, one of Mr Bean's three daughters, said the creation of the book was a dream come true for the family.

She added: “My dad is in his 90th year and has a story that will inspire those musically inclined to work hard and let those drumsticks take them where they have a mind to go.

“Set your goals and make them come true, nothing is impossible.”

Ms Raynor added: “His career spanned 75 years, during which he tutored and inspired many budding musicians to perfect and utilise their talent, some of whom have since coined a name for themselves in the world of drumming.”

Ms Raynor said her father, who lives in Devonshire, was drawn to the world of music through an early love of the Gombeys.

His sister noticed his talent when he was playing with pots and pans.

The memoir details Mr Bean's career on stages at home and overseas, including Madison Square Garden, the Lincoln Centre and the 1993 presidential inauguration ceremony for Bill Clinton.

However, Ms Raynor said: “His dream was always to play at Carnegie Hall. When he finally did it, it was the peak of his career.

“If you play at Carnegie Hall, it means you are among the best.”

The book was written by Claudette Bennett-Rogers over two years, based on interviews with Mr Bean and the cover of the book was designed by Mr Bean's grandson, Domico Watson.

Ms Raynor, also from Devonshire, said the project was a labour of love for the family and they had all contributed. She said: “I woke up one morning and sent a message to my family saying that we need to write Dad's story.

“I found the writer, my brother went out and did research. At the end of the day, we all played a part in getting this done.”

Ms Raynor added that Mr Bean had to be convinced to co-operate, but he was persuaded by the idea that his story might help inspire other Bermudians to reach for the stars.

She said her father had often told his family about his travels, but even they were surprised by some of the stories in the book.

Ms Raynor said: “I had no idea that he had met Sammy Davis Jr, or some of the people he had played with, like Gregory Hines.

“There was a lot of it that was new.”

Ms Raynor added that her father had received accolades and awards, but just loved to perform in front of an audience.

She said: “Anyone who has seen him perform would never forget his trademark, his brilliant smile portrayed throughout his performing years as an expression of the great love he had for music and the satisfaction felt when in his element performing on stage.”

Tootsie Never Missed A Beat is available at Amazon.com, but Ms Raynor hopes the book would be on Bermudian store shelves soon.

The beat goes on: musician Clarence “Tootsie” Bean
New book: Clarence “Tootsie” Bean
Tootsie Never Missed A Beat, the memoir of Bermudian drummer Clarence “Tootsie” Bean (Image provided)

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Published May 30, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated May 30, 2020 at 9:00 am)

Tootsie’s memoirs strike a new beat

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