Dizzy, an American jazz trumpet player, bandleader, singer, and composer, was known as "the sound of surprise". He played a pivotal role in the development of bebop and influenced numerous musicians. Dizzy also contributed to Afro-Cuban jazz by incorporating complex poly-rhythms and adding conga to his orchestra. Throughout his career, he received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to music.
Career highlights include being awarded the New Star Award from Esquire Magazine in 1944 and performing at the first integrated concert in public school in Cheraw, SC in 1959. In 1972, Dizzy became the first jazz musician appointed by the US Department of State for a cultural mission. He received several prestigious awards such as the Handel Medallion from the City of New York and the Paul Robeson Award from Rutgers University Institute of Jazz Studies.
Notable performances include playing at the White House for President Carter and the Shah of Iran in 1977 and performing "Salt Peanuts" with President Carter at a White House Jazz Concert in 1978. Dizzy was also recognized with inductions into both the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame. His lifetime achievements were acknowledged through various accolades including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Kennedy Center Honors Award, National Medal of Arts from President Bush, Duke Ellington Award from ASCAP (the society of Composers Authors and Publishers), as well as