help me pick a MM/AP BN reissue - for comparison

Seems like we've all heard about the Music Matters and Analogue Productions Blue Note reissues. As a big fan of jazz in that era and someone who own some version of almost all BN titles from the mid-50s to mid-60s, I am naturally curious about this series.

I ordered a copy of "Dexter Calling" (from the AP series), as that is one title I don't have. As a result, while it may sound great, I won't get a sense of where these records rate versus originals and various later pressings, US reissues, and Japanese reissues.

So....I'm thinking of picking up at least one more and was wondering if you could help me decide to help facilitate a comparison. (Also, the superior packaging of the Music Matters intrigues me, so I'd kind of like an excuse to get one.)

My options are:
4012 - Lou Donaldson / LD+3. I have a Japanese Toshiba to compare it against.
4029 - Blakey / The Big Beat. I have stereo copies of the 2 originals - W 63rd and NY USA.
4031 - Mobley / Soul Station. I've got a Connossieur reissue.
4037 - Parlan / Us Three. Have a Toshiba.
4043 - Parlan / Speakin' My Piece. Also Toshiba.
4059 - Drew / Undercurrent. Have a Japanese King.

I'd like to figure out where these reissues fit into the chain, but, as you can see, it will be hard to do a ranking with just one record based on what else I have.

Unfortunately, "Somethin' Else" is not out yet. I have a mono W 63rd, mono NY USA, Simply Vinyl, BN Connossieur, and a King - and one of the new 45s could be used to really figure out where this series ranks -- for me -- in terms of enjoyment.

The key questions I'd like to answer are:
1) Will the sound quality -- for me -- be worth the 45rpm hassle?
2) Will I want to buy more?
3) Will I prefer these to mono releases? (Whether or not mono or stereo is the "true" form, I find that playback of mono originals on a mono setup just really energizes me and sounds "right" -- but I'm open to the new releases changing my mind.)

Thanks for your thoughts.
If I were you, I'd probably do Kenny Drew's Undercurrent for the following reasons (I don't have any of the albums mentioned although I do have "Soul Station" on order from MM, so take my advice with a grain of salt):

1) the best comparison for you might be Blakey's "Big Beat" as you have two originals of that, but I've read that the recording is a bit "hot" on that one with the MM so I'd kind of expect the original to be the same. It might not be the best comparison in light of original sound quality of master tape, although a MM to original comparison would be interesting-I can recall reading recently here that someone preferred a Parlan original to the MM.

2) the Drew, on the other hand seems to have had favorable press with respect to sound quality and you have a King of that. The King's have a reputation for being about as close to the originals as anything (much more so than the Toshibas) and are also still available on the used market for around $50 or less so I figure a head to head with a King is a good and fair comparison as you can buy either for around the same price, which you cannot say about many of the originals.

3) I would really hope that the MM would be significantly better than a Connossieur, but who knows?

As to the mono/stereo issue, I'm sure you've read the story. Those MM's released in mono are supposed to be original mono master tape; everything else in stereo is supposed to be original stereo tape and if that release came out on BN as mono it is supposed to be a fold down.
I'm going to suggest 4043 Speakin' my Piece. Of the set so far I find it to have the best music for my taste as well as the best life and balance in the recording/pressing. I think you can't go wrong with any of them, but if I were to duplicate just one so far - that would be it.


Wound up ordering 'The Big Beat', 'Speakin' My Piece', 'Undercurrent' and 'Soul Station'.

I figured I'd be able to then do comparisons vs. originals, Toshibas, Kings, and Connossieurs and, perhaps, extrapolate the results to other issues.

I have a couple other BN releases where I've got originals, Kings, Toshibas, Classics and more of the same title. This will help me to get a good understanding of the series and determine if I want to subscribe.

Potentially, I could post some clips of various pressings played back with the same equipment downstream.