The Bay Area has always embraced musical diversity. A strong salsa dance scene developed in San Francisco and was in full swing by the mid-1960s. San Franciscans enjoyed many hot Latin-style salsa nights and a wide spectrum of high energy Latin dance music because clubs like Cesar's hosted many of the top Latin musicians of the day and a healthy community of dancers. Salsa De Berkeley was a defining part of this growing movement.
The monumental commercial success of Santana in the early 1970s greatly fueled the already thriving scene and provided inspiration to a whole new generation of aspiring Latin musicians. Many new Latin bands emerged in San Francisco during this era, including Azteca, Malo and Salsa de Berkeley. These groups incorporated classic Latin rhythms (derived from the cha cha cha, cumbias, boleros, Latin jazz and Afro-Cuban music) and added contemporary pop, rock and dance stylings into the mix.