Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society at the Douglas Beach House
The Douglas Beach House is a legendary oceanfront live music club on Miramar Beach in Half Moon Bay, California. It is home to the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society, a nonprofit organization that has been presenting Sunday afternoon headliner jazz, classical, and world music since 1964.
Located directly on the beautiful San Mateo County coast’s Miramar Beach, just 35 minutes from San Francisco and 40 minutes from Silicon Valley, the Bach brings a concert approach to a beachfront setting, with the intimacy of a club ambiance. There is a communal feeling to the Beach House and Concert Room, a room that brings the musicians and audience together in a special way. According to the musicians who have played there throughout the years, the Douglas Beach House is “the best small venue in the United States.”
The Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society had been closed after the founder and owner of the renowned jazz club, Pete Douglas, passed away in July of 2014. Pete’s middle daughter, Barbara Douglas Riching, succeeded him as president of the society. “My father created an incredibly special venue and it would be impossible for me to not continue his legacy,” said Riching. “There is no way I could ever replace him or the special spirit that he brought to the house, but we are extremely excited to begin a new era.” With the re-opening of the Bach, Riching will carry on her father’s vision of presenting jazz in a chamber-like setting, where both the musicians and audience can share an intimate experience.
Musicians who have played at the Bach include such luminaries as Betty Carter, Bill Evans, Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, Max Roach, McCoy Tyner, Bobby Hutcherson, Art Blakey, Etta James, Milt Jackson, and Eliane Elias, to name just a few. In addition to jazz, such notables in the classical music world as the Kronos Quartet and Mariano Cordoba played at the venue. The Bach is listed as one of the 2015 163 “Great Jazz Venues” in DownBeat magazine.
As a registered nonprofit since 1964, the Bach is partially supported through memberships and donations, but is not member-only. It is open to the public seeking the artistic and musical styles that may interest them.
Learn more about who has performed at the Bach!
About our Name
The Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society…why?
As told by Pete Douglas, the late founder of the Bach.
“The name arose out of an informal party in 1963. A small group of friends were hanging out on a Sunday afternoon in my original beer joint facing the ocean, the Ebb Tide Cafe. While drinking and listening to recorded music, some other people fell in with some dynamite. They suggested we all go out and explode it on the beach. Declining their offer, the dynamiters left us to do their deed. Meanwhile back to the party and music, in a change of mood, I put on my recording of the Bach Brandenberg Concerti. Upon listening a while, someone suggested the music was in 4/4 time — why not dance to it! This we did, doing a form of West Coast Swing dancing to Bach, when we heard an explosion on the beach. An inebriated guest, Bob Swift, upon hearing the blast, claimed we were the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society. Of course, we were anything but a society, and fancied ourselves Beat Hipsters of the Fifties who looked with Bohemian disdain on any social conformity.
From these beginnings it’s been hard to imagine that the Bach Society would become an important presenter of World Class talent. Few small venues have had the opportunity featuring such diverse musical styles with nationally known talent. It gives truth to the fact that real artists will perform in small facilities if the management is knowledgeable and supportive of their musical efforts — that music making can still have priority over financial concerns.”
In Memory of Prentice (Pete) Douglas
Feb 9, 1929 – July 12, 2014
Founder – Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society
Owner – Douglas Beach House, Half Moon Bay, CA
The Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society closed after the founder and owner of the renowned jazz club, Pete Douglas, passed away. However, it comes to life again in 2015 as Pete’s daughters — Linda Tichenor, Virginia Castillo, and Barbara Douglas Riching — are working closely together to ensure the Bach’s future. Pete’s middle daughter, Barbara, will succeed him as president of the Society. “My father created an incredibly special venue and it would be impossible for me to not continue his legacy,” said Riching. “There is no way I could ever replace him or the special spirit that he brought to the house, and we are extremely excited to begin a new era.”
The Douglas Beach House will continue to be owned by the daughters. Riching is leading the charge in carrying on her father’s vision of presenting jazz in a chamber-like setting, where both the musicians and audience can share an intimate experience. “I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of my sisters for helping to make this happen. Despite the challenges, we never really wavered from ensuring that our dad’s legacy was preserved,” she said.
Thank you for your continued support!
Condolences and Memories
- Prentice “Pete” Douglas Obituary – Half Moon Bay Review – posted: July 16, 2014
- A Coastside original passes – Half Moon Bay Review – By Stacy Trevenon, July 16, 2014
- Memories ofworking with, and knowing Pete Douglas – by Larry Vuckovich, July 15, 2014
- Remembering Pete – by Sonya Jason, July 2014
- Pete Douglas dies, unforgettable owner of jazz venue Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society – MercuryNews.com – by Karen de Sá, July 21, 2014
- A Unique Person and Place – by Reggie Marshall, July 22, 2014 – Mars Booking
- Select emails July 19, 2014