Rio Nido

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This article is about the vocal jazz group. For the resort community in California, see Rio Nido, California.
Rio Nido
Origin Minneapolis, Minnesota
Genres Vocal jazz music, vocalese
Years active 1972–1986, 2007
Labels Red House Records, Shadow Records, ProJazz
Past members Tim Sparks
Prudence Johnson
Tom Lieberman
Roger Hernandez
Dave Maslow

Rio Nido is an American jazz vocal group based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Band history[edit]

Rio Nido is a jazz vocal trio that began as part of the Minneapolis West Bank music scene in the early 1970s. The first incarnation of the group consisted of Prudence Johnson on vocals, Tim Sparks on vocals and guitar, and Tom Lieberman on guitar and vocals.[1] Rio Nido performed classic jazz and swing of the 1930s and '40s at many Minneapolis hot spots such as The Dakota, New Riverside Cafe and Extempore Coffeehouse. Their first recording was I Like to Riff, released on Shadow Records and featured arrangements of The Boswell Sisters, The Cats and the Fiddle, Stuff Smith, Al Jolson and Nat King Cole.[2][3]

When Tom Lieberman left the group in the late '70s he was replaced by Roger Hernandez on vocals and drums. Dave Maslow joined on bass and vocals. Rio Nido then focused on the vocalese style of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross and Eddie Jefferson. They also included Doo-Wop classics in their performances.

In 1983 they released Hi Fly on Red House Records and featured Dave Karr on flute and tenor sax and Jimmy Hamilton on piano. Rio Nido’s last recording was Voicings, recorded for the ProJazz label, one of the first early digital recordings released in CD format.

Johnson later became a semi-regular on A Prairie Home Companion and has a successful solo career.[4] Sparks continued his successful musical career as a solo guitarist. Lieberman was the guitarist for A Prairie Home Companion for 10 years and continues to perform and produce for film and stage shows.

With the re-release on CD of Hi Fly and I Like to Riff in 2007 by the Japanese label Bittersweet America, Johnson, Sparks and Lieberman performed a number of reunion shows.[5]

Rio Nido was inducted into the Minnesota Rock and Country Hall of Fame in April, 2007.[6]

Rio Nido is currently playing a reunion tour in the Minneapolis area.[7]



  1. ^ Matt Peiken journalism website. Accessed on January 30, 2008.
  2. ^ Tim Sparks website. Accessed on January 30, 2008.
  3. ^ Acoustic Guitar Reiview Tim Sparks interview. Accessed on January 30, 2008.
  4. ^ College of St. Catherine Women of Substance series. Accessed on January 30, 2008.
  5. ^ Sacred Heart Music Center. Accessed on January 30, 2008.
  6. ^ City Pages. Accessed on January 30, 2008.
  7. ^ Star Tribune. Accessed on April 18, 2016.

External links[edit]