jackie bankston


 

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JACKIE PEARSON BANKSTON​
   “The Princess Of The Piano”

Jackie began her professional career in August of 1980, just a few short months after graduating from the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Theory and Composition. In the last 34+ years, she hasn't stopped.

After playing in pubs, piano bars, restaurants and hotels throughout the mid-South, in the early 1980's, Jackie landed a job at the prestigious Pat O'Brien's (the world's first and longest lasting two piano club) in New Orleans, Louisiana. Jackie spent 7 years in and out of New Orleans at the dueling gig. In 1990, she was one of three women to recreate that scene at the Rio Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The act played the hotel for 4 months.

In 1991, Jackie began her worldwide treks, playing hotel piano bars throughout Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Bahrain and Thailand. In between her Scandinavian treks in 1992-1994 she joined the team at the first franchise of Pat O'Brien's, opened in Cancun, Mexico. Winters in Cancun, summers in Sweden!

In the summer of 1996, Jackie joined several other players to start a dueling show at the Panama City Brewery and Cafe in Panama City, Florida and was a member of that successful team until the summer of 1998, when she joined The American Queen. Twice more, Jackie entertained in Las Vegas in dueling acts, at the Naughty Ladies Saloon at Arizona Charlie's Hotel and Casino and at Main Street Station.

From the fall of 1998 until the fall of 2001, Jackie began her love affair with the “cruise industry” and started on the rivers of The United States. As an Engine Room Bar entertainer onboard the American Queen, of the famed Delta Queen Steamboat Company, she traveled the rivers of the heartland of America, telling jokes and serenading the passengers up and down the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. In 2000, she released her first CD and launched her website, www.jackiebankston.com

In January of 2002, Jackie embarked on yet another exciting adventure - a 13-week stint as a solo performer onboard the Wind Spirit, a 4-masted sailing schooner of Wind Star Cruise Lines. She entertained on cruises from Costa Rica, through the Panama Canal, touching a few countries along the northernmost tip of South America, and on over to the Caribbean to begin her island hopping!

After her return to the U.S., she rejoined the dueling circuit, putting in appearances at DJ's Dugout in Omaha, Nebraska, and at Bricktown Keys in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, until she returned to the rivers in January of 2003.

Jackie recorded her second CD during 2003, a live performance onboard the American Queen, entitled “It’s Me Again” and filled with her unmistakable style of humor. Her shows on the American Queen developed from a concept of having theme nights. Jackie took these theme nights and turned them into full-blown shows filled with music and jokes. Her favorites are country night, full of redneck humor, and 70’s night, full of MALE BASHING jokes!

2004 had Jackie once again rolling on the river and entertaining passengers in the Engine Room Bar aboard the American Queen. She returned to that stage for another season with the Delta Queen Steamboat Company in 2005, finishing that season performing on their vessel the Mississippi Queen with a trio in the famed Paddlewheel Lounge, as the American Queen was briefly put out of service after Hurricane Katrina.

Jackie was the featured entertainment for the Miss. Business Journal’s Woman of the Year luncheon in January of 2005, where she performed and spoke about being a successful businesswoman. She was also a headliner for Senior Citizens’ Day at the Miss. State Fair in October of that same year.

In 2006, she decided to discover the Pacific Northwest and spread her wings a little. Her work took her to the Empress of the North, another riverboat. This one traveled the Columbia, Snake and Willamette Rivers through Oregon, Idaho and Washington. The summer season was spent cruising the inside passage of Alaska. This vessel was a part of America West Steamboat Company. However, during 2006 both American West and Delta Queen were purchased by Ambassadors International and joined together to form a new small ship luxury line known as Majestic America Line.

2007 started off with a bang onboard the Empress of the North sailing out of Portland, Oregon, and the spring found her back in the heartland of this great country, once again on the American Queen where she reigned on the throne behind the baby grand in the Engine Room Bar for so many years. She remained there until that grand lady of the river went out of service in November of 2008.

Within a few weeks she was back at work on the high seas for Windstar Cruise Lines onboard the Wind Spirit. She performed for the company fulltime from December of 2008 until October of 2011. After a brief rest, she rejoined the newly revived Grand American Queen of the newly formed American Queen Steamboat Company, where she once again reigned on her “throne” in the Engine Room Bar. She has been entertaining there throughout their first season back on the river as part of a duo that has included Bob Schad or Bobby Durham. She was offered a contract for the 2013 season and was delighted to accept! Her partner during the 2013-2014 seasons was Bobby Durham. Her new CD "A Song For You," is available on this website along with her earlier recordings.

For the first time since 1998, Jackie will not be performing on the riverboat. Back and neck issues, an occupational hazard of playing the piano, are going to sideline the Princess of the Piano until further notice. In the meantime, please enjoy memories from her 35 year career and some of the wonderful places she was privileged to visit.

 

copyright 2015 jackie pearson bankston