In the 1930s and early 1940s Casper Reardon (1907-1941) was the most sought-after harpist in popular music. A classically trained son of vaudeville artists, he became first harpist of the Cinncinati Orchestra, and head of harp at the Cincinnati Conservatory. Some of his pupils persuaded him to explore jazz music, and he quickly fell in love with the music of W.C. Handy, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington and many more. Jazz on the harp was a previously undeveloped field. When he moved to New York City in 1931, he played in radio broadcasts, phonograph recording, vaudeville and cabarets. At first his name did not appear on records, even though he was the star of the 1934 Jack Teagarden recording Junk Man. He played with George Gershwin, Paul Whiteman, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, and others. Casper Reardon’s harp is also heard in some movies, notably dubbing for Harpo Marx in Go West. He was widely known as ‘the swing harpist’.

Here’s the Teagarden number

Casper Reardon