In a brief interview published in the Tropicana International magazine (Nº 5,1997), the extremely popular Puerto Rican singer Andy Montañez stated that salsa is not a rhythm but a mixture, "... a hybrid born of the guaguancó , the rumba , the son montuno , the plena , the bomba and even the merengue ... ". And he added: "I have always believed that the roots of this type of music are embedded here in Cuba." This statement affirms what we intend to ratify, since apparently not everybody is clear on this: salsa is not a rhythm in itself, but a name that embraces different musical genres, under a commercial label that succesfully launched a product to the market.
Nevertheless, the relevance of salsa in the international dissemination of several Caribbean dancing music is beyond doubt. Also beyond doubt is its own development and its impact on the work of musicians who in countries like Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Venezuela and others, have based their work on Latin dancing rhythms. Thus, a sort of feedback has luckily existed, and composers and musicians engaged in musical arrangements in the country have taken advantage of it when creating their own interpretations of a contemporary and novel dancing music.
In Cuba, for instance, this feedback, together with our own internal musical development and the talent of creative young musicians, gave birth to the so-called Cuban salsa first and timba later, with a sound and style quite different from that of New York and Puerto Rico salsa , but unquestionable influenced by the salsero movement at the very beginning.
Salsa music appeared in New York City during the 60´s, though many years before, Cuban rhythms and the work of our musicians were known there, due to their performances since early in the 20th century. The Matamoros trio, for example, was so successful that it even made some recordings there, thus making the Cuban son, the guaracha and other rhythms present in that great city.
During the first years of the 30´s, the Cuban musician Don Aspiazu arrived in New York with his orchestra, with Mario Bauzá as one of its members and Antonio Machín as its singer. With them the popularity of the son grew to the point of being always present in NY music world. Cuban rhythms, increasingly popular, have been and are still introduced in the work of many Latin musicians living there. Years later, with the creation of the Afro Cubans by the Cuban singer "Machito" and under Mario Bauzá's musical direction, the foundations of the so-called Latin jazz were laid with the incorporation of our rhythms to this important manifestation. At the beginning of the 60´s, an entire Latin and Cuban musical atmosphere already existed in New York. There was also a great number of Cuban and Puerto Rican musicians, among other Latin Americans, living in the great city and striving to go ahead in life. There was, therefore, a great diversity of rhythms and musicians, a true sauce with multiple spices to be promoted and launched to the market. In this "sauce", Cuban ingredients, having the son as its main spice, turned into the predominant flavor.