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Lovelle's uncle was the drummer Arthur Herbert. Lovelle began his career with the trumpeter, singer and band leader Hot Lips Page in the late 1940s, then played in the 1950s with the saxophonist Hal Singer, Johnny Moore's Three Blazers and the 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 the tenor saxophonist Arnett Cobb and the pianist Teddy Wilson in 1954. In 1959 he contributed to the pianist Paul Curry's album Paul Curry Presents the Friends of Fats, released on the Golden Crest label.
In the early years of television, he performed with the King Guion Orchestra on the Jerry Lester Show and the Ed Sullivan Show. In 1966, he was the lead drummer for the Sammy Davis, Jr. TV show.
Lovelle began playing more R&B music later in the 1950s and worked as a studio musician, often with Sam "The Man" Taylor. He played on recordings by Bob Dylan (The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan), Pearls Before Swine, Eric Andersen, David Blue, John Denver, Tom Rush, B. B. King, John Martyn (Stormbringer!), the Strangeloves, the McCoys, and the Monkees. He continued working as a studio musician well into the 1980s.
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), Down to Earth (2001), 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).
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With Rusty Bryant
- Rusty Bryant Returns (Prestige, 1969)
With Art Farmer
- Early Art (New Jazz, 1954)
With Red Holloway
- The Burner (Presige, 1963)
- That Healin' Feelin' (Prestige, 1968)
With Lightning Hopkins
- Down Home Blues (Prestige 1964)
With Illinois Jacquet
- Spectrum (Argo, 1965)
With Herbie Mann
With Jimmy Witherspoon
- Blues Around the Clock (Prestige, 1963)
With John Denver
- An Evening With John Denver (RCA, 1975)