Rubén González was born on May 26, 1919 in Santa Clara, Cuba. He learned to play piano at the music high school of Cienfuegos. He studied medicine for a time, abandoned it due to financial difficulties and began playing with groups in Las Villas. In 1940, he moved to Havana, where he played in the charangas of Paulina Álvarez and Paulín, with Arsenio Rodríguez, Kubavana and Senén Suárez and in the big bands Siboney and Riverside.
By 1943, he released his first recording with Arsenio Rodriguez and during the 50s he served as a member of the Orquesta America, Orquesta de Enrique Jorrin and CMQ. Between 1957 and 1961, he worked in Venezuela but very soon he became known in Cuba and other parts of Latin America. In the early 1960s Rubén became the pianist for the Orquesta de Enrique Jorrín for 25 years, took over leadership after Jorrín’s death in 1987, but retired soon after.
It wasn’t until a meeting with Ry Cooder that González came out of retirement, recorded his first solo album in years and became a part of the Buena Vista Social Club with a host of veteran Cuban musician whose fame became worldwide.
Pianist Ruben González’s last public appearances were in Mexico and Cuba in 2002 and the next year the pianist passed away on December 8, 2003 at age 84.
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