Tom Cole

Tom Cole is an editor on NPR's Arts Desk. He develops, edits, produces, and reports on stories about art, culture, and music for NPR's news magazines Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and All Things Considered. Cole has held these responsibilities since February 1990.

Prior to his work with the Arts Desk, Cole worked for three and a half years as an associate producer for NPR's daily classical music program Performance Today, and also for Morning Edition, where he coordinated and edited news reports and produced music programming.

From April 1979 to July 1986, Cole worked for NPR member station WAMU-FM in Washington, DC. He was the production manager for the daily operation of studios, and also served as a reporter, writing and producing music features that were broadcast locally and nationally. In addition, from October 1985 to November 1986, Cole worked for Voice of America as a producer for VOA Europe.

Since 1977, Cole has been the host and producer of a weekly three-hour program of music and interviews broadcast on public radio station WPFW-FM in Washington.

Over the course of his career, Cole has produced or collaborated on a number of public radio projects. He co-edited the Peabody Award-winning NPR documentary, "I Must Keep Fightin' : The Art of Paul Robeson." He was also an advisor, contributor, and co-editor of the Peabody Award-winning " series, The NPR 100, the top 100 songs of the 20th century.

A native of Washington, D.C., Cole has studied classical guitar at The American University and privately. He also studied comparative literature at Catholic University in Washington, DC, and at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa.

Thirty years ago this week, an unknown filmmaker walked into a club in Washington, D.C., with a videotape in his hand. It was one of those nights when anyone could screen their work ... but this was the first public screening of a short documentary that's gone on to become the very definition of a cult classic.

For 20 years, Robert Goldstein was NPR's music librarian. He went on to become a manager in our research and archives division, and shared his love of music with our audience in stories he wrote for broadcast and online. He was also an accomplished guitarist, whose work made an impression on a young Bob Boilen decades ago, sparking a friendship that continued when they began working together.

Derek Gripper was a musician with a problem. He'd been playing classical music since he was 6 years old — violin, then piano and finally guitar. He was poised for an international career as a classical guitarist. But he remembers going to the homeland of one of his favorite composers, Johann Sebastian Bach.

"It felt kind of strange," he says. "It felt strange to be in Germany playing Bach to them."

Jean-Baptiste "Toots" Thielemans, the Belgian-American musician who cut a singular path as a jazz harmonica player, died in his sleep Monday in his hometown of Brussels. He was 94.

Musician and composer Frank Zappa was a lot of things: biting satirist, ferocious critic of societal norms, outspoken defender of free speech. He saw himself as not only an entertainer, but also a serious composer. And he saw no contradiction in being all of these things at once, to the consternation and confusion of the many journalists who interviewed him.

Watching a Terence Davies film is like watching paintings come to life. On the other hand, the filmmaker jokes, "The people who don't like my films say it's about as interesting as paint drying."

Still, Davies (pronounced "Davis") has plenty of defenders. More than one critic has called him Britain's greatest living film director, and French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard — who was famously not a fan of British moviemakers — called Davies' 1988 full-length feature breakout, Distant Voices, Still Lives, "magnificent".

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit



Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit



We're going to travel up the California coast now to remember one of the architects of the San Francisco Sound of the '60s.


Jazz guitarist John Scofield has had a pretty remarkable career. Without even finishing music school, he found himself on the Carnegie Hall stage playing with jazz legends Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan. Then it was on to Miles Davis, his own successful jazz-funk fusion groups, and even greater exposure playing with jam bands.

"I consider the guitar as this sort of multi-faceted instrument," says Janet Feder, "that can make and do all of these other things."

Chime like a bell, or gong, buzz like a locust, or rattle and hum.