The young Rubén González was an accomplished classical pianist and in his youth was planning to become a doctor. In 1941 he gave up his studies of classical music and medicine to begin his professional career playing dance music, playing with most of the major orchestras in Cuba. He began his recording career in 1943 with the pioneering bandleader Arsenio Rodríguez, who would help revolutionise the sound of Cuban music. Rubén explained that he approached the piano not as an accompanying instrument but one that also ‘leads’, whilst still maintaining the rhythm. Along with Lilí Martínez and Peruchin, Rubén was part of a trio of pianists who helped shape the way in which this music would develop. Having established his own distinctive style Rubén went on to play in various orchestras throughout South America before returning to Cuba. In the early 1960s Rubén became pianist for Enrique Jorrín, the man credited for inventing the cha cha cha, and would continue to play for him for the next 25 years.