Just because it's a brand-new year doesn't mean you have to suddenly act all optimistic and shit — at least not with The Black Heart Procession coming to town. These sorrow-seeped San Diegans can make anyone weep like a coyote wailing through the darkest Arctic winter. Although 2007 passed without fresh material, the band's California mini-tour promises new songs sure to contain the Processional staples: vocals cracking like antique mirrors, eternally drizzling piano arpeggios, guitars that echo with cavernous reverb, and maybe a lonesome singing saw or two. So wipe that celebratory New Year grin off your face and plunge into the melancholia on Wednesday, Jan. 9, at Bottom of the Hill at 8 p.m. Admission is $15; call 621-4455 or visit www.bottomofthehill.com for more information. — John Graham
Entrance's 2006 release Prayer of Death is a dynamic mix of mournful blues and heart-piercing hope. The eclectic disc from the man otherwise known as Guy Blakeslee also pays homage to the Eastern sensibilities of deceased guitar maestro Sandy Bull and offers an outright nod to drug culture on the space-rocking "Valium Blues." Hear an independent rock musician whose roots travel around the world and into the cosmos when the band performs with Mariee Sioux, Little Wings, Lee Bob Watson, and DJ Andy Cabic of Vetiver on Thursday, Jan. 10, at Great American Music Hall at 8 p.m. Admission is $13-$16; call 885-0750 or visit www.gamh.com for more info. — Jennifer Maerz
On his latest disc, Stanley Clarke makes it clear that his muse has not left him after all these years. Toys of Men opens with a four-part tour de force — a soft melody grows until it reaches an accomplished bass solo and a crescendo reminiscent of The Beatles' "A Day in the Life." On the uptempo "Come On," Clarke goes into a funky progressive-rock mode that showcases the chops of drummer Ronald Bruner Jr., while guitarist Michael Landau provides the perfect backdrop for the bandleader's improvisations on "Jerusalem." There is little question that Clarke is one of the greatest jazz-fusion bassists alive today. He is one of the few musicians who can reproduce his fiery live performances in a studio format with the same freshness and creativity that his fans expect. Stanley Clarke performs from Thursday, Jan. 10, through Sunday, Jan. 13, at Yoshi's in San Francisco. Admission is $24-$32; call 655-5600 or visit www.yoshis.com for more info. — Ernest Barteldes
Though they might not be as well known stateside as San Diego jazz-funkateers The Greyboy Allstars or Brooklyn's much-lauded gritty soul outfit The Dap-Kings, transatlantic counterparts The New Mastersounds have been making a hip-shaking noise in England and abroad for the better part of the last decade. Founded by guitarist Eddie Roberts in 1999, the quartet quickly caught the ears of discerning DJs with a limited-edition series of raw seven-inches. U.K. Northern Soul and deep-funk tastemaker Keb Darge captured the group's ferocious Hammond B-3–heavy sound on its full-length debut, paving the way for collaborations with legends like Blue Note saxophonist Lou Donaldson and Meters bassist George Porter as well as rising U.K. soul siren Corinne Bailey Rae. A recent remix album finds the group's organic tunes getting overhauled by a variety of nü-funk and broken-beat producers, but fans can expect old-school grooves when The New Mastersounds deliver dancefloor heat on Friday, Jan. 11, at the Independent at 9 p.m. Admission is $15; call 771-1421 or visit www.independentsf.com for more info. — Dave Pehling
For five decades, the leading lights of the jazz world have gathered in Monterey every fall to celebrate an array of swinging sounds. Not content to have hosted one of the most illustrious line-ups in its dazzling history this past September — tenor titan Sonny Rollins, piano icon Dave Brubeck, and free-jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman were just a few of the participants — festival organizers have planned a commemorative jaunt by an all-star group. The Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary Tour features noted trumpet player and soundtrack composer Terence Blanchard joining forces with veteran saxman James Moody, special guest vocalist Nnenna Freelon, and a powerhouse rhythm section anchored by local piano favorite and musical director Benny Green. Help celebrate a jazz institution this Saturday, Jan. 12, at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley at 8 p.m. Admission is $34-$52; call 510-642-9988 or visit www.calperfs.berkeley.edu for more information. — D.P.