Musica salsa, or Salsa Music in English, is a type of dance music widely popular In Colombia, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. In the 70s, the word "salsa" was first marketed and promoted in the city of New York. A number of genres comprise salsa, among them are: chachacha, Cuban son montuno, guaracha, mambo, and bolero (to some degree). Musica salsa is said to have come from musical genres such as plena and Puerto Rican bomba. In rare instances, salsa is also used to refer to dance music genres Colombian cumbia and Dominican merengue. A lot of salsa arrangers, instrumental soloists, and piano guajeos were heavily influenced by Latin jazz, a subgenre of jazz that was developed and widely popular in New York back then.
Musica salsa came from Son cubano (or Cuban son), in fact, before anything else, it is primarily Cuban son. It is a combination of European and African music influences. In Spanish, the word salsa means sauce, which is primarily used to add extra flavor to food. Musica salsa, in many ways, is just like the sauce; it adds more flavor, more life, more heat, and that extra oomph to spice things (the music) up! The most common instruments used in musica salsa are: bongos, conga, double bass guitar, flute, maracas, piano, saxophone, timbales, trombone, trumpet, vibraphone, and the violin.
It has been said that the term salsa music is not exactly precise, in terms of scope; many experts use "salsa music" to describe a musical style that originated between the late 60s and the early 70s. Author Ed Morales was once quoted as saying that salsa is an "extravagant, clave-driven, Afro-Cuban-derived songs anchored by piano, horns, and rhythm section and sung by a velvety voiced crooner in a sharkskin suit." He pretty much hit the nail on the head with this statement as it accurately describes the most common perception of salsa; and basically sums up the true essence of salsa.