Mark, recently I've been experimenting again with azo printing and have finally made a discovery which to me is earth shaking (ok guys, it is to me at least). I'd been trying to print negatives which are "out of range" for the paper with mixed results, and it finally clicked. This may be another way of looking at exposure and development for you, as it was for me. My negatives had too much contrast and I didn't use amidol as a developer, so water bath development didn't work.

I had negatives which were too contrasty for the paper I had, just a poor match for the scale of the paper. I got good highlights, but black shadows. If I printed for the shadows, the highlights were just not there at all, not enough exposure. What I started doing was to print with more exposure to first get highlights in place. This would give me the black shadows without detail. Obviously, something was not working. What I ended up doing was to give MORE exposure of the paper and reduced development. It lets the highlights firm up, but reduced development stops the shadows from blocking up and turning to tar.

In effect, I was using the same trick you would use for too much contrast in a scene when using film. You know there will be no shadow values without sufficient exposure (same thing on the azo, the highlights must burn in enough for detail, remember its backwards for paper), so you give the film plenty of exposure to make sure there is something on the film except empty space. In doing this, the highlights are now way too far up the scale for a decent print (too much density to print through), but they are affected by development (same as the shadow values on azo paper), so you reduce development just enough to retain textures on the high end.

While I know this may not be news to most of the people here, it is doing the same thing with paper that you do with film. If there is too much contrast in a scene (paper or film), more exposure is given to register those details which are on the threshold, at the edge of exposure below which there is nothing there. Once this is done, you now have too much exposure for a "normal" development time. The other side of the coin is a reduction in development, which will stop those highlights from becoming too thick to print through (or in the case of paper, blocked shadows which are too fully developed).

I hope this helps a bit. It sounds like you are getting a feel for the contrast range, now a bit of tinkering is in order. Try giving more exposure and less development and bracket a bit. Keep notes.