Thurber Plays Bass, Fleck Plays Banjo

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Bela Fleck and Mike Thurber

Bela Fleck (left) and Mike Thurber prepare for their performance on From the Top. From the Top hide caption

itoggle caption From the Top

Mike Thurber knew he wanted to play the double bass from the first time he laid eyes on it.

"It was 'Pick your Instrument Day' in sixth grade," he recalls. "I looked across the room and saw a big, brown, curvy and oh-so-gorgeous figure in the corner that I could not resist. Lo and behold, it was the double bass!"

From that day forward, Thurber and the double bass were rarely seen apart. He loved playing it so much, he decided to go to Interlochen Arts Academy, where he could focus more of his time on music. These days, Thurber plays all styles of music on his double bass, from classical and jazz to rock, blues, R&B, and funk. He also plays bass guitar.

One of Thurber's idols is crossover banjo artist Bela Fleck, and it was a dream come true when Thurber was asked to perform with him on a special episode of From the Top's radio show.

"I've always been a huge fan of everything he's done," Thurber says. "I think the mark of a truly great musician is that there is a very small wall between what they're trying to say and their instrument, and that's something I've always heard in Bela's playing."

Thurber and Fleck cooked up an improvisational, jazzy rendition of one of Béla's compositions "Sunset Road" for the show.

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