Rubén González (May 26, 1919 in Santa Clara, Cuba – December 8, 2003 in Havana) was a Cuban pianist. He learned to play the piano at the music high school of Cienfuegos. He studied medicine but abandoned his studies due to financial difficulties. He 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. In 1943, he released his first recording, together with Arsenio Rodríguez. During the 50s, he served as a member of the Orquesta América, Orquesta de Enrique Jorrín and CMQ. Between 1957 and 1961, he worked in Venezuela. 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, and would continue to play for him for the next 25 years. After Jorrín's death in 1987, Rubén briefly took over the role of band leader, but retired soon after.
González retired in the late 1980s, but started a second career in 1996 when the solo album Introducing...Rubén González was released. The next year, U.S.-musician Ry Cooder produced Buena Vista Social Club, featuring González, Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, Omara Portuondo, Elíades Ochoa and some other Cuban musicians. Wim Wenders filmed a documentary under the same name, and González and his colleagues became famous all over the world.
González also released two solo albums. Introducing...Rubén González was recorded in the same sessions as Buena Vista Social Club, and Chanchullo was recorded and released in 2000. Both are on World Circuit Records.
González's last public appearances were in Mexico and Cuba in 2002.
Joachim Cooder - drums
Ruben Gonzalez - piano
Manuel "Guajiro" Mirabal - trumpet
Roberto Garcia - bongos, guiro, cowbell
Amadito Valdes - timbales
Javier Zalba - baritone saxophone
Alberto "Virgilio" Valdes - maracas
Lazaro Ordonez Enriquez - violin
Lazaro Villa - vocals
Alejandro Pichardo Perez - guiro, clve