Local businesses offer salute to jazz icon Dec. 4

M. Kate West
Chester Editor

What do you get when you mix a jazz aficionado with a tidbit of local history? You have the perfect opportunity to party with a purpose.

Almanor Bowling Center owner Derek Anderson summed up his rationale very succinctly, “I love jazz and we have this historic bar.”

He said the evening would celebrate the 90th birthday of American jazz icon Dave Brubeck (Dec. 6) and the fact that he came from local stock. The event is also a chance to bring music to the community and, in honor of Brubeck’s birthday, to fundraise for the Brubeck Institute.

The party will take place Saturday, Dec. 4, at the Almanor Bowling Center and the neighboring Red Onion Grill.

The Philip Bailey Quartet will perform many of Dave Brubeck’s greatest works from 4 p.m. to midnight at the bowling center.

For the special evening, Filip and Eva Laboda of the Red Onion Grill will present, in addition to the regular bill of fare, a special four-course chef’s tasting menu from 4 – 9 p.m. at the Brubeck Bar.


The local connection

“This bar came from Amadee Hotel in Lassen County, which was built by Brubeck’s grandfather, Lewis Warren Brubeck, in 1892,” Anderson said.

Anderson also shared how the Brubeck bar came to be relocated to the Red Onion Grill in Chester.

“After the hotel had been closed for a while, the bar was stolen in the middle of the night, in 1930, by a Mr. Irwin of Chester.  Before he could bring it here to make furniture out of it he was pinched by Lassen County Sheriff’s Office and told to return the bar to the hotel,” he said.

As the saga continues, a Mr. Relya heard the story and negotiated a purchase of the Brubeck bar from the then owner of the hotel and put it in his bar/restaurant, called Marion’s, on Weatherlow Street in Susanville.

In 2002, Anderson bought the building, which he said had evolved into rooming house.

“It was at that time I learned about the history of the bar during a conversation with local historian Tim Purdy,” Anderson said.

Approximately five years later Anderson wanted to open a restaurant in the end space at 376 Main St. in Chester.

The Brubeck bar is now a focal point in the Red Onion Grill.

For more information about the evening, call 258-4300.


About Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck was born Dec. 6, 1920, in Concord, and grew up cowboying on a 45,000-acre ranch in Ione.

His father, Howard “Pete” Brubeck, was a Lassen County rancher and lifelong cattleman who became the manager of the Arroyo Seco ranch when Dave was 12.

Because Brubeck intended to continue to work with his father in the ranching lifestyle, he attended the nearby College of the Pacific (now the University of the Pacific) to study veterinary medicine.

After transferring to the music conservatory, he graduated in 1942.

Shortly after, he was drafted into the United States Army and served with General George Patton’s Third Army.

The Dave Brubeck Quartet was formed in 1951, and disbanded in 1967, which allowed him more time to compose.

On his 89th birthday, Brubeck was named a Kennedy Center honoree for exhibiting excellence in performing arts.

The University of the Pacific established the Brubeck Institute in 2000 to honor Dave and wife, Iola Brubeck.

The institute’s mission is to build on Brubeck’s legacy, his lifelong dedication to music, creativity, education and the advancement of important social issues.


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