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Pete Douglas, Founder of California Jazz Club, Dies at 85

Half Moon Bay’s Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society booked hundreds of major artists

Pete Douglas

Pete Douglas, founder of the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society music club in Half Moon Bay, Calif., died in Miramar Beach, Calif., on July 12. The cause of death was not reported. Douglas was 85.

Douglas, who was born in Waukegan, Ill., in 1929, moved to Southern California in the 1940s where he developed a fondness for jazz. By the late ’50s, after finishing school, getting married and serving a stint in the Army, he moved north where he became a probation officer. He purchased the club that would become Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society in 1958 and began presenting top-name jazz artists there in 1964. Among the jazz greats who performed at the venue were Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Bill Evans, Dizzy Gillespie, Etaa James, Stan Getz, David Liebman, Art Blakey, Betty Carter, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson and many others. Douglas also booked classical and world music artists to perform at the club, which remained open for some 50 years.

Originally Published