Jamar Jenkins, still grooving

Jamar Jenkins shakes his head at the thought.

“It was fifty-one years ago… man, that’s amazing… it was 1971, and a bunch of us in college at Western started a band. We opened for the Chambers Brothers in Bellingham, and that was it. We didn’t need college, we opened for the Chambers Brothers! They were huge! So we moved to Seattle…”

Jamar Jenkins brings his guitar groove to SPiN’s Spring Fling, May 21.

The band morphed into Cold, Bold, and Together, a mainstay of the thriving Seattle funk scene in the 70s. Like Jamar, a guy named Kenny G got his years-long saxophone career started with CBT in the clubs of Seattle.

On May 21, Jamar Jenkins and his guitar will set the musical scene for SPiN Cafe’s Spring Fling fundraiser at the Oak Harbor Elks.

And you’ll like it so much after hearing him live on stage, you’ll want to bid on the show that Jamar has donated to SPiN’s auction that night.

CBT’s members eventually returned to college, and that’s where — now at the University of Washington — Jamar met Oak Harbor native Allenda Jackson, who became his wife. “We never thought we’d end up back here on Whidbey,” Allenda says. But after stints teaching music in his native Tacoma, then L.A., Jamar took a job with Coupeville Schools and has been there for 19 years. He’s the Music Director at Coupeville Middle and High School.

Jamar and Oak Harbor’s Allenda Jenkins did not see a return to Whidbey in their future.

Allenda returned to her loves of theater and music at Whidbey Playhouse, where she serves as President and directs productions, including this September’s Grease.

With so many of our neighbors struggling to get by on Whidbey, Jamar is happy to help out by providing some music – which he loves to do anyway. “I’m glad to be a part of this. When I see people on the street, with nowhere to go, I wonder what path their lives took to get there. How did they end up in that situation? Everyone has a story, right?” Knowing that people here on Whidbey Island do have a place to go, where they are treated with kindness and dignity, where they can get a meal and a safe place out of the weather, Jamar says, makes it extra special to get involved.

Jamar is happy to help SPiN Cafe, where he knows every guest has a story.

Jamar and Allenda smile when the discussion turns to SPiN founder Vivian Rogers Decker, their Coupeville friend and neighbor. “She’s always talking about kids,” says Jamar. “Clothing drives, food drives, you name it, it’s about the kids.” As a teacher, Jamar is a kindred spirit.

Fifty-one years after he started this ride, Jamar’s still rolling. He’s 70 this year, “and I think I’ll teach another couple years. But that’s what I said five years ago.” He directs music for Whidbey Playhouse productions whenever Allenda needs him, and he’s excited about a gig this summer filling in with Oak Harbor favorite BroHamM.

“Those guys were our rivals in Seattle, back in the day. Now their guitar player needs a break and I’m available, so why not?”

For more of Jamar, Cold Bold and Together, and a trip back fifty-plus years, check out Wheedle’s Groove. It’s a great compilation of that 60s-70s Seattle funk vibe.

And don’t miss Jamar at the Spring Fling, May 21. Tickets available right here.

Jamar and Allenda today, still feeling that groove. And eager to help out SPiN Cafe.