Born: June 1, 1924 | Died: April 8, 2009 Primary Instrument: Drums
Herbie or Herb Lovelle (1 June 1924 - April 8, 2009) was a versatile American drummer, who played Jazz, R & B, rock and folk. He was also a studio musician and an actor. Lovelle's uncle was drummer Arthur Herbert. Lovelle began his career with trumpeter, singer and band leader Hot Lips Page late in the 1940s, then played in the 1950s with saxophonist Hal Singer, Johnny Moore's Three Blazes, and pianist Earl Hines. Through working for both Lucky Thompson and Jimmy Rushing of Count Basie's Orchestra, he became house drummer at the Savoy Ballroom in New York City for much of the 1950s. He toured with tenor sax Arnett Cobb and pianist Teddy Wilson in 1954. In 1959 he contributed to the pianist Paul Curry's album 'Paul Curry presents the Friends of Fats' on the Golden Crest label. He performed on earlier television with the King Guion orchestra on the Jerry Lester Show and the Ed Sullivan Show. In 1966, Herb was the Lead Drummer for the Sammy Davis, Jr. TV Show out of NY. He began playing more R&B music later in the 1950s, and soon found himself working as a studio musician, often with Sam The Man Taylor. He plays on recordings by Bob Dylan (The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan), Pearls Before Swine, Eric Andersen, David Blue, John Denver, Tom Rush, B. B. King, and The Monkees, working well into the 1980s in the studios. In 1976, he produced the first Stuff album, which went platinum in Japan. He also played drums in the 1976 revival of Guys and Dolls. From the 1980s on, he acted in film and television, including on Law & Order (1995–2004). His film credits include Bella (2006), Mitchellville (2004) (Sundance), The Rhythm of the Saints (2003), Don't Explain (2002), The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001), in German, Im Bann des Jade Skorpions, Down to Earth (2001) in German Einmal Himmel und zurück, Girlfight (2000), Maximum Risk (1996), Getting Away with Murder (1996), White Lies (1996), Bleeding Hearts (1994), The Paper (1994), Running on Empty (1988), Death Wish III (1985), A Man Called Adam (1966). His TV credits include Into the Fire (2005), How Do You Spell Belief? (2005), Kingpin Rising (2005), Third Watch (2 episodes, 2005), and Law & Order TV (1995–2004). Testimonials
These three testimonials are reports based on extensive interviews with Herb Lovelle, and are put here at the expressed request of the interviewers. They were originally uploaded in Herb's presence after he reviewed the content. According to Janice Singleton, singer and actress, September, 2008: … Hails from Brooklyn, New York and performed his first professional job as a musician with Hot Lips Page. Followed by one adventurous road tour after another with such pioneers as Lucky Millinder, the Oscar and Johnny Moore Trio, Hal Singer, Willis Jackson and Earl Fatha Hines. These unforgettable events continued with Billy Graham, Dancer Paul Draper, The Billy Williams Quartet-plus 5, Nat King Cole and Arnett Cobb. Making the decision to settle near home for a short period earned him a coveted gig at the Savoy Ballroom with both Lucky Thompson and Jimmie Rushing. As the word spread of his unique time-keeping abilities, the door of opportunity opened even wider and he stepped over into Gospel Music and began recording with Mahalia Jackson and the Drinkard Singers. This included a host of others that helped to plant the seeds for R&B Artists such as Laverne Baker, Ruth Brown, Willis Jackson and Hal Singer. As a studio musician, Mr. Lovelle began by setting-up a groove for the original Pepsi-Cola jingle. Hey, somebody had to do it!... And major recording companies such as Capital, Columbia, and Warner/Electric/Atlantic began calling on his creative genius from which many a hit record was born. All this put Herb in demand and he started touring with some of the most important entertainers in the music industry many with whom he made recordings. Among them were Sammy Davis Jr., Lena Horne, BB King, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Jimmy Smith, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul & Mary, Roberta Flack, Jon Lucien, Dinah Washington, Baby Washington, The McCoys, The Angels, The Main Ingredients, The Manhattans, Judy Garland, Connie Francis, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Nina Simone, Shirley Horne, Gloria Lynne, Irene Reid, Gladys Knight & The Pips, The Isley Brothers, Leslie Uggams, Peaches & Herb, Inez Foxx, Chuck Jackson, Johnny Mathis, Vic Damone, Johnny Desmond, Jerry Vale, Astrud Gilberto, and Sam (The Man) Taylor. His seven year tour and recording dates with Rocky Mountain High Guy John Denver resulted in Platinum Selling, Grammy Award Winning Album, titled An Evening with John Denver which still hangs above the fireplace in the Lovelle living room. Of course, the natural next step for Herb was his moving into the role of Record Producer. His knowledge and history earned him opportunities to work with cream-of-the–crop legends such as Blues Man BB King, for whom he produced two albums Live and Well and Completely Well. He then founded, produced and recorded a group of East Coast Based musicians called Stuff and released their first album by the same title on the Warner Bros. Label. Stuff contained such an excellent group of Musicians that Herb arranged for their extraordinary sound to be the background music on studio projects for every major record date created in New York City. Always seeking more and newer ways to express his creativity, Herb moved into, and quickly conquered the Broadway circuit as a pit musician. He worked in Tony Award winning show Don't Bother Me, I Can’t Cope, Guys and Dolls and The Wiz, all of which fueled his aspirations for becoming an actor. After several intense years of studying at the prestigious Sande Shurin Acting Studio located in New York City, Herb was then introduced to an agent and made his debut in the long-running soap opera The Guiding Light as a court auditor. He continued to return to primetime favorite Law & Order portraying different roles each time. He was a featured character named Richard Brooks in comedy skit No One Called 911 on the Chris Rock Show. Herb is in a variety of television commercials shown on network and cable television. As an established film actor, his credits include: A Man Called Adam, The Paper, Getting Away With Murder, Red Merger, Death Wish III, Running On Empty, White Lies, Girl Fight, Down to Earth & Maximum Risk. His theater credits include King Lear, Driving Miss Daisy, I'm Not Rappaport, Miss Evers' Boys, Yesterdays (An Evening with Billie Holiday), Some Sweet Day, Song of Singapore, Ma Rose, Amen Corner, Conrack, Macbeth, Murder To Go, Inc. Herb Lovelle is someone who is deeply concerned about the future of our children, for that reason, he along with world renowned Bassist Jerry Jemmott, are in the process of developing an exciting interactive learning program known as Jamboree. In addition, Herb was a regular and welcomed speaker and Instructor at Pratt Institute for the Neighborhood Youth Corp of Brooklyn, New York. According to Angele Dublin (Herb's granddaughter), November 2008: After leaving the service, Herb was nagged into believing that the 9 to 5 rut was the sensible way for a family man to make a living. He accepted a position on the custodial staff at General Foods Co. in Hoboken, New Jersey, mopping the warehouse floors. In less than two years he had propelled himself into the most coveted job in the factory, mixing the flavors for JELL-O. The pulse of the mixing machines drove Herb crazy. All he heard was drum beats and patterns. His co-workers, his wife at the time, and his dad were very upset with his decision to quit and pursue the dubious career of a musician. As his marriage ended, his life in music began with his first professional job for Hot Lips Page. THE DRUMS FELL APART AGAIN (the first time being his music debut in the service). This led to adventurous road tours with others such as, Lucky Millinder, Oscar and Johnny Moore trio, Hal Singer, Willis Jackson, Earl Fatha Hines, Billie Graham, Dancer Paul Draper, The Billie Williams Quartet- plus 5, Nat King Cole and Arnett Cobb. It should be noted at this point that the information in this document is in no way chronological. Herb left the road tours to stay closer to home. Being employed by both Lucky Thompson and Jimmie Rushing, Herb held a coveted gig at the Savoy Ballroom. As the word of his abilities spread, Herb was exposed to the recording studio of Apollo Records and a list of Gospel groups that planted the seeds for R&B artists he later recorded with like Laverne Baker, Ruth Brown, Willis Jackson, Hal Singer and others. Herb got a good dose of the Blues playing with Lightnin’ Hopkins, Muddy Waters, Big Joe Turner and Jimmy Witherspoon. JAZZ finds him with its distribution warehouse. He recorded with Mahalia Jackson, the Drinkard Singers, Sonny Stitt, Ike Quebec, Wynton Kelly, Art Farmer, King Pleasure, Buddy Tate, Buck Clayton, Nat Adderley, Illinois Jacquet, Johnny Hodges, Budd Johnson, Kenny Burrell, Mongo Santamaría, Willie Bobo, Slim Gaillard, Clark Terry, and Errol Garner. He performed on earlier television with the King Guion orchestra on the Jerry Lester Show and the Ed Sullivan Show. Herb was the lead drummer for the Sammy Davis, Jr. TV show originating in NY. Herb's contribution to the DANCE world began with Sophie Maszlo to Paul Draper to Alvin Ailey's Revelations. The earlier Days at the Apollo Theater and the subsequent Black circuit tours plus Allen Freed and Murray the K prepared Herb for BROADWAY’S Don’t Bother Me I Can't Cope, Cindy (o.b.) Guys and Dolls and The Wiz. Herb thanks GOD for blessing him with gifts that helped to create and be a part of the NEW YORK STUDIO MUSICIAN era, included is, BLUES, R&B, POP,ROCK AND ROLL, AND JAZZ. Jimmie Smith, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, John Denver, B.B. King, Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, Jon Lucien, Dinah Washington, Baby Washington, The McCoys, The Angels, Main Ingredient, Manhattans, Judy Garland, Connie Francis, Lena Horne, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Nina Simone, Shirley Home, Gloria Lynne, Irene Reid, Gladys Knight & Pips, Isley Bros, Leslie Uggams, Peaches and Herb, Inez Foxx, Chuck Jackson, Johnny Mathis, Vie Damone, Johnny Desmond, Jerry Vale, Tony Bennett, Astrud Gilberto, Sam (the man) Taylor. Just to name a few!