For Ellis Marsalis it's computers, not compositions

December 09, 1990|By Henry Scarupa

Like his famous brothers Wynton and Branford, Ellis Marsalis 3rd grew up playing musical instruments, in his case the flute and the guitar, but today his chief instrument is the computer.

Mr. Marsalis, 26, runs Polaris Systems Inc., a computer consulting business, in the Gardenville section of Baltimore, where he lives with his wife, Catharine. The couple is expecting their first child soon.

In partnership with two fellow graduates of New York University, Mr. Marsalis spends his working day developing database applications and computer networks for clients mainly in the New York-New Jersey area. The job requires considerable travel.

Fed up with New York and reluctant to return to his hometown of New Orleans, Mr. Marsalis began to look for a place to settle while still in college, where he was majoring in photography and American history. He considered several East Coast cities, but Baltimore stood out in his mind. He had visited the city on his motorcycle during his junior year and liked what he saw.

"It reminded me of home because of the neighborhoods," he recalls. "In Baltimore you have a city that's not too big and neighborhoods with [single-family] homes, lawns, even trees."

Mr. Marsalis says he was never pressured by his father or older brothers to follow a musical career.

"I never really saw myself in music like my brothers," he adds. "They were deep into it. I just didn't have the interest."

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