Rubén González

Ruben Gonzalez was one the most prominent Afro-Cuban pianists. He had been a member of the Enrique Jorrin band for nearly a quarter century. However, he had already retired from music in the mid-’80s. When Gonzalez recorded with the Afro-Cuban All Stars, in 1996, things began to change. Gonzalez was discovered by a worldwide audience when his album, A Toda Cuba Le Gusta (released in 1996), sparked an interest in Afro-Cuban music. He became an international sensation after his performance on the RyCooder-produced album Buenavista Social Club. Gonzalez was 78 when he signed a contract with World Circuit to release his first solo album, “Introducing…Ruben Gonzalez”. Gonzalez, who was a promising pianist from an early age graduated from Cienfuegos Conservatoire, in 1934. He briefly considered studying medicine, but the lure of music won him over. Gonzalez left school to become a professional musician in Havana. After recording with influential multi-instrumentalist Arsenio Rodriguez, Gonzalez joined Orquestra de los Hermanos, a group featuring Cuban percussionist Mongo Santamaria. After a long period of time in Panama and Argentina during which he worked alongside tango musicians he returned home to Havana where he played with several cabaret groups. Gonzalez joined Enrique Jorrin’s band in the early 1960s and remained with the group until Jorrin died. Gonzalez assumed the leadership of the group, but arthritis forced him to retire. He remained a low-key presence up to 1996. Gonzalez returned to the spotlight and released two albums in America, Chanchullo (1997) and Introducing… (2000). In December 2003, the octogenarian pianist passed away in Havana, Cuba. Allmusic

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