Prentice “Pete” Douglas

Feb 9, 1929 - July 12, 2014

great jazz venue

Prentence "Pete" Douglas Obituary - Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 2:04 pm - HMB Review

Founder of the world-renowned music and jazz club, the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society at the Pete Douglas Beach House in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Pete Douglas, died peacefully at age 85 on July 12, 2014, in Miramar Beach. He had been sitting at his desk, wearing his beanie and smoking his pipe overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Pete was born in Waukegan, Ill., to Robert and Barbara Douglas. After his father passed away, Pete and his family moved to the Los Angeles area in the 1940s where Pete became engrossed in the Los Angeles jazz scene. He grew up on the beaches of Manhattan and Hermosa, hanging out in jazz clubs and listening to swing, early bebop and the cool sounds of West Coast jazz at such clubs as the Lighthouse Café.

After a stint in the Korean War, in 1955, Pete graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, married and was then hired as an adult probation officer in San Mateo County. Needing to get back to the beach scene, Pete purchased an abandoned beer joint on the ocean in Half Moon Bay called the Ebb Tide Coffee Shop. Soon Pete was inviting beatniks, artists and Coastsiders into his joint, hosting impromptu music jams and ceaselessly renovating his building and music room. It eventually evolved into a world-class music venue, the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society (“the Bach”).

The first of these many jazz jam sessions began in the summer of 1958. After becoming a registered nonprofit for the musical arts in 1964, regular jazz and classical programs began at the Bach and were open to the public. A quote from Pete’s "Ruminations" expresses best his approach to presenting quality musicianship: "Artistry is a subjective thing, but you are certain when you witness it." And, wow, did we!

Such luminaries as Betty Carter, Bill Evans, Stan Getz, McCoy Tyner, Bobby Hutcherson, Art Blakey, Etta James and Milt Jackson, to name several of thousands who played at the Bach. In addition to jazz, such notables in the classical music world as the Kronos Quartet and Mariano Cordoba played at the venue. Over 50 years of music history occurred at the Bach, all due to the vision and tenacity of Pete Douglas. He always said it was a “social experiment” and it can now be said it was a success. He is the reason the Bach has had so much longevity, and his presence will always be felt there no matter what happens next.

Pete is survived by his daughters Linda Tichenor, Barbara Riching and Virginia Castillo, grandsons Tony, Aaron and Andrew Ackerman and Maxwell Riching, granddaughters Chelsea and Tina Castillo and several great-grandchildren. Additionally, Pete is predeceased by his brother John “Jack” Douglas and survived by his brother Roger Dial. In addition to Pete’s family, Pete was loved by his many jazz supporters including his right-hand manager Linda Goetz. A memorial will be announced on the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society’s website at, where memorial donations may also be made to the nonprofit organization.