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.

All Songs Considered
3:11 pm
Tue June 2, 2015

The Song Was So Good, Jimmy Page 'Borrowed' It

Cover art for a reissue of Bert Jansch's Live At The 12 Bar.
Courtesy of the artist

Bert Jansch's approach to a traditional folk song is on full display in this recording of "Blackwaterside," made during a show at London's 12 Bar and originally released in 1995. It's an approach the Scottish singer-guitarist developed in the early 1960s; one that was more about evoking the mood and feel of a song than a slavish devotion to historical interpretation.

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The Two-Way
3:47 am
Fri May 15, 2015

B.B. King, Legendary Blues Guitarist, Dies At 89

B.B. King performs at Bluesfest Music Festival in Byron Bay, Australia, in 2011.
Mark Metcalfe Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 2:11 pm

It seemed as if he'd go on forever — and B.B. King was working right up until the end. It's what he loved to do: playing music, and fishing. Even late in life, living with diabetes, he spent about half the year on the road. King died Thursday night at home in Las Vegas. He was 89 years old.

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The Two-Way
6:52 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

Remembering Pat Dowell, Longtime Film Reporter For NPR

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 9:33 am

Pat Dowell, a freelance film reporter for NPR, died on Sunday. Dowell had been dealing with health issues for some time, but her death came as a surprise. She was 66 years old.

Pat was a freelancer for us for close to 30 years. Before that, she was a film critic for a number of publications and first appeared on our air in that capacity in 1974, when she talked to then-All Things Considered host Susan Stamberg about the TV series Rhoda and feminism.

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A Blog Supreme
4:25 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Remembering Ralph Sharon, Tony Bennett's Pianist

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 9:05 am

Pianist Ralph Sharon, the longtime accompanist for Tony Bennett, died March 31 at age 91. In the audio link above, Tom Cole has a brief report for NPR's Morning Edition, and below, Walter Ray Watson filed this remembrance for NPR Music.

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Music News
7:39 am
Sat March 28, 2015

Influential Guitarist John Renbourn, Co-Founder Of Pentagle, Dies

John Renbourn performs onstage at the Royal Festival Hall in London June 29, 2008. The influential guitarist died at his home in Scotland Thursday. He was 70.
Barney Britton Redferns

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 1:41 pm

Guitarist and composer John Renbourn co-founded the group Pentangle and went on to become revered by guitarists around the world. Renbourn was found dead of an apparent heart attack at his home in Scotland on Thursday, after failing to show up for a concert. He was 70 years old.

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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
5:11 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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