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.

Music News
12:16 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Another Fleetwood Mac Album That's 'Worth A Damn'

The 1969 album Then Play On, Peter Green's last with Fleetwood Mac, signaled a spiritual quest already in progress.
Jan Persson Redferns

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 4:38 pm

This year saw the reissue of two vintage albums by Fleetwood Mac: the hugely popular Rumours,and the last album to feature the band's founder, Peter Green, called Then Play On.

"I think it's one of the most beautiful records and exciting records ever made," Rolling Stone senior writer David Fricke says. He wrote the liner notes for the reissue.

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A Blog Supreme
5:07 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Remembering Jim Hall, A Different Sort Of Guitar God

Jim Hall performs with his trio and fellow guitarist Julian Lage at the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:10 am

Jim Hall was a guitar god, but not in the sense that he could blaze through a zillion notes a minute. He was worshipped by guitarists around the world, but you'd never know it from talking to him.

"I don't really have all that much technique anyway, so I try to the best with what I have you know," he said to me earlier this year.

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The Record
5:33 am
Sat November 2, 2013

Paramount Records: The Label Inadvertently Crucial To The Blues

King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band in Chicago in 1923: Louis Armstrong is kneeling, from left to right behind him are Honore Dutrey, Baby Dodds, King Oliver, Lil Hardin, Bill Johnson and Johnny Dodds.
Frank Driggs Collection Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 4:31 pm

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The Record
5:11 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Johnny Smith, Revered Guitar Player, Has Died

The cover image of The Complete Roost Johnny Smith Small Group Sessions, a 2002 box set of work from across the jazz guitarist's career.
Album cover

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 6:12 pm

The man who wrote the surf guitar anthem "Walk, Don't Run" has died. Guitarist Johnny Smith died Tuesday night at his Colorado home of natural causes. He would have been 91 years old on June 25.

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The Record
7:30 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Richie Havens, Folk Singer Who Opened Woodstock, Has Died

The crowd at Richie Havens' Woodstock-opening set on Aug. 15, 1969.
Paul DeMaria New York Daily News via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 3:05 pm

Richie Havens once told NPR that he believed all music is folk music. Listen to Havens speak about Woodstock, Greenwich Village and why he loved performing in Neda Ulaby's remembrance, broadcast on Morning Edition, at the audio link on this page.

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The Record
5:22 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Saving The Sounds Of America

A 16-inch lacquer disc, a format used in the 1930s, from the collection of the Library of Congress. Most of the lacquer, the part of the disc where the sound was etched, has been lost to decay.
Abby Brack Library of Congress

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 9:44 pm

We've been able to record sound for over 125 years, but many of the recordings that have been made in that time are in terrible shape. Many more, even recordings made in the past 10 years, are in danger because rapid technological changes have rendered their software obsolete. So Wednesday, the Library of Congress unveiled a plan to help preserve this country's audio archives.

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Commentary
7:33 am
Sat November 10, 2012

What A Life: The Day I Met Elliott Carter

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 11:29 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Elliott Carter died this week, a month shy of his 104th birthday. He had a huge influence on modern classical music. So in 2008, when Elliott Carter was celebrating his centennial, NPR's Tom Cole went to New York City to interview him. And he has this remembrance of what it was like to meet the storied composer.

TOM COLE, BYLINE: I was terrified. I mean, this was a man who had lived history; a composer who'd won two Pulitzer Prizes, for his Second and Third String Quartets.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Tiny Desk Concerts
8:59 am
Sun July 22, 2012

Janet Feder: Tiny Desk Concert

Emily Bogle NPR

Janet Feder came to NPR with an infant guitar, the curiosity of a child and a wild imagination. The guitar was just a couple of months old — hand made for her by Los Angeles-based guitarist and teacher Miroslav Tadic. It's a nylon-string baritone electric! Its player is diminutive — barely taking up any space behind Bob Boilen's desk. Yet, if you look closely, you'll see the products of her immense curiosity and imagination. A small split ring (like the kind you put your keys on) holds a metal bead in place on the top E string near the sound hole.

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Music Interviews
6:58 am
Sun July 22, 2012

Janet Feder: An Avant-Garde Artist Takes A Real Risk

Janet Feder built a career on unusual instrumental guitar playing. Her new album, Songs With Words, will feature her singing for the first time.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 11:46 am

Janet Feder does things to her guitar.

"If I play the second string with nothing on it, it sounds like this," Feder says, plucking out a note. "Just a pure pitch."

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