Australia’s premier funk/R&B vocal group CDB are quick to define what the word “funk” means to them. “Good times, raw grooves and getting immersed in the music,” says Gary Pinto. Adds Danny Williams, “It’s a movement. You can’t listen to funk sitting down. It can be down and dirty but still bring amazing grooves and melodies.” On their new album “The Funk Sessions”, Gary, Danny, Brad Pinto and Andrew De Silva recharge their creative batteries by paying tribute to their heroes. These include the first single, Michael Jackson’s “Pretty Young Thing” (PYT) from his milestone “Thriller” album. Gary: “‘Thriller’ was the soundtrack to our childhood. There was always going to be a Michael Jackson song on our album. ‘PYT’ remains classic but fresh because even though it was one of the best songs from ‘Thriller’, it was never released as a single.” Danny: “We’d go clubbing and hear ‘PYT’ and the dance floor would fill up. Michael’s voice seemed so excited about what was happening in the studio. When we were recording it we came to appreciate how well written the song is. It’s still the thump in the clubs!” Chic’s “Good Times” repeats the Funk As Fun philosophy and nods to how they also wrote a hit song with that name in the ‘90s. The tough groove of Cameo’s “Word Up” is nailed by Andrew’s edgy vocal. Stevie Wonder’s “Do I Do” is homage to how he has remained an inspiration to their vision. One of Gary’s personal highlights was when a song he wrote reached Stevie’s ears, and Gary was invited to LA to sing at Stevie’s daughter’s 16th birthday. If Gap Band’s bass-heavy “Fantastic Voyage” and The Commodores’ “Get Down On It” would get an entire club mirror ball dancing, then Earth Wind & Fire’s “That’s The Way Of The World” evoked the mellow late night 4 am vibe. Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music” was always a song that introduced non-funksters to the joy of funk. So too did Prince and “Raspberry Beret” but here CDB take that classic song into a totally esoteric direction. “The Funk Sessions” album is dynamic and contemporary, an exhilarating combination of nu-skool production and vibes with old skool masterpieces. “Our biggest strength was always our vocals,” Danny says. “Right from our early teen days. But we’re older now, we’ve lived out the experiences we’d sing about and because we’re so close we know how to get the best out of our music.” The songs on “The Funk Sessions” were tunes CDB sang and danced along to as four year olds. As their parents were musicians, they were lucky enough to learn from their inspired record collections. As teenagers, they were part of Melbourne’s South Eastern urban scene, a movement that included musicians, rappers, graffiti artists, visual artists, journalists, club djs, clothes designers, break dancers and photographers, It was a tight-knit scene, and they turned each other on to new clubland experiences and sounds. Signed to Sony Music in their mid-teens, CDB’s debut album “Glide With Me” (1994) went platinum in Australia and Top 5 in France. “Let’s Groove” reached #1 on the ARIA chart and was best selling Australian single of 1995. CDB toured the world, playing with Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey, performed in Seoul to a live audience of over 100,000 and broadcast to 17 million worldwide, and counted Julian Lennon and Tommy Emmanuel among their fans. Their follow-up album “Lifted” (1997) had success with singles “Good Times” and “Back Then”. But ten years of being on the road took its toll and the band split up that year. Gary, Brad and Andrew went on to write and/or produce songs for Guy Sebastian, Ricki Lee, Jessica Mauboy, Jade MacRae, Natalie Bassingthwaighte., Disco Montego, Tina Arena, Mahalia Barnes, Anthony Callea and Mr Timothy. Danny took three years off to travel around the world before forming a duo with Laura Mitchell. A few years ago, CDB were asked to reunite to play some charity shows — and stayed together. “There’s always been something special when the four of us get together — and that original spark made it so good to be part of. And the band played on!